Take 3: Marnie Review (A Month Without the Code — #1)

For the 4th Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon, I wanted to review a movie that was released after 1954 or before 1934. This is because I’m also participating in Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s A Month Without the Code Blogathon. While searching through Alfred’s filmography, I came across the 1964 film Marnie. The idea of the female protagonist being the center of the film’s mystery was something I hadn’t seen in the other Alfred Hitchcock projects I saw. As of August 2020, I have seen five of his movies, including Marnie. Two years ago, I said The Birds was the worst film I saw in 2018. However, Strangers on a Train appeared in my Honorable Mentions for my 2018 best movies list. Will Marnie appear on my best or worst of 2020 list? That mystery will get solved by reading this review!

Marnie poster created by Universal Pictures and Geoffrey Stanley Productions. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marnie1.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Tippi Hendren worked with Alfred Hitchcock when she starred in The Birds. In Marnie, she knew what to expect with the direction of her performance because of this pre-existing partnership. Tippi was given more acting material to work with in this film compared to the previous one from 1963. Her portrayal of the titular character was well-rounded, allowing her to express a variety of emotions. Marnie and Mark’s honeymoon serves as a good example of this. During a nice evening dinner, Tippi displays feelings of content. But when her character is having a heated argument, she provides a fierceness and strength to Marnie that projects off the screen. Before watching this movie, I had seen some of Sean Connery’s films. Even when the film surrounding him doesn’t hold up, he still gives his performance everything he has, talent wise. When I watched Marnie, Sean’s portrayal of Mark reminded me of Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind. What I mean by this is Sean had a commanding presence that captured the attention of the audience. He also carried himself with confidence throughout the film. Despite appearing in the movie for about two scenes, I thought Louise Latham’s performance was strong! Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll say her portrayal of Marnie’s mother, Bernice, was powerful in the movie’s climax. It was captivating to watch and had a good amount of emotionality.

The cinematography: One of the staples of an Alfred Hitchcock film is the interesting uses of cinematography that can be seen. Marnie features camera work that was creative and appealing to the eye. My favorite example is when Marnie is stealing the money from the office. While she’s doing this, a custodian is mopping the floor in the same vicinity. The shot shows the custodian on the left side of the screen and Marnie on the right side. As this part of the story played out, it built suspense and left me on the edge on my seat. Another good use of cinematography happened at the beginning of the film. When Marnie is first introduced, her face is not shown on screen. This creates a sense of mystery that surrounds her presence. It’s not until she changes her hair color from black to blonde that we finally see Marnie’s face.

The use of the color red: Throughout the movie, the color red appears in various forms. When a red object crosses paths with Marnie, she reacts with panic and fear. One example is when Marnie and Mark go to a horse race. As soon as she notices the red dots on a jockey’s shirt, she immediately wants to leave. This aspect served as a consistent component of this character. It also allows the audience to engage in the mystery surrounding this visual choice.

The 4th Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon banner created by Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. Image found at https://maddylovesherclassicfilms.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/announcing-the-4th-alfred-hitchcock-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The scene transitions: When a cinematic story moves from one scene to another, that transition can make or break the movie’s overall flow. In Marnie, some scenes ended abruptly, causing the transitions to feel clunky. A good example is when Marnie is leaving the office after she steals some money. As soon as she walks down the stairs, an employee shows up and greets a custodian. All of a sudden, the next scene begins. Had these transitions been smoother, the film wouldn’t feel like it was in stop-and-go traffic.

Light on thrills: Before watching this movie, I knew it was classified as a thriller. Because Marnie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, I was expecting a mysterious and suspenseful tale that fits the brand he created. While it did have moments of suspense, the film as a whole was not thrilling. The majority of the story focused on the drama within the narrative. In fact, Marnie felt like it belonged in the drama genre. If Alfred wanted to try something new and go out of his comfort zone, that’s understandable. Unfortunately, this movie seemed out of character for him.

The run-time: Alfred Hitchcock once said “the length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder”. However, it seems like Alfred forgot his quote when he directed this movie. Marnie is two hours and ten minutes. Because of this creative decision, some scenes were drawn out longer than necessary in order to satisfy the run-time. One example is a conversation between Mark and Lil after Marnie goes horse-riding. Personally, I thought this scene went on for too long. Had scenes like that one been trimmed down, it might have put the film’s run-time under two hours.

A Month Without the Code Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/announcing-amonthwithoutthecode2020/.

My overall impression:

Alfred Hitchcock is a director who has created a distinct brand for himself. Known as the “Master of Suspense”, Alfred’s work consists of mystery and thrills. This decision is the reason why Marnie sticks out like a sore thumb. I want to make it clear that this is not Alfred’s worst film. The mystery itself was intriguing and the creative choices involving visuals were interesting. But the drama in this story overshadows the thrills, making the overall project feel like it should have been classified as a drama. As I said in my review, this felt out of character for Alfred. It would be like if an author like Debbie Macomber, an author known for writing heart-warming stories, published a gruesome murder mystery novel out of the blue. This would feel out of the character for the brand she created. Because this is my first review for A Month Without the Code, it’s time for me to point out how Marnie could be “breened”! I believe this story could be made into a Breen Code era film. However, these are the things that need to be changed in order for this to happen:

  • Throughout the film, there is language used that does not belong in a Breen Code era film. This ranges from swearing to using God’s name in vain. These words would either be removed or switched to more appropriate choices.
  • There is one scene that heavily implies Mark and Marnie had sex. Even though this happens after they get married, the scene itself would need to be rewritten or omitted.
  • One scene shows Marnie attempting suicide. Because this is a sensitive subject, this scene would to be removed or rewritten.
  • The robe Lil wears has a low-cut neckline. Changes to the style of the robe would need to take place before filming begins.
  • A large amount of blood is featured in one scene. The use of blood would need to be reduced.
  • A horse gets injured and killed in two inter-connected scenes. This would have to get omitted or the scene would have to be rewritten.

Overall score: 6.4 out of 10

What are your thoughts on Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography? Do you have a favorite movie from the “Master of Suspense”? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Matinee Review + 220 Follower Thank You

If you’ve read my recent blog follower dedication reviews, you could tell that I’ve been trying to watch more films from my DVR. This has been a conscious decision, as there are several films that have been there for a year or more. One of those movies is Matinee, as it has been on my DVR since last February. What caused me to record it was how the movie revolved around a movie. Film is a topic that I am very passionate about. Because Matinee was about a subject I’m interested in, it gave me a reason to watch it. While looking back on the movies I’ve reviewed within the past month, I realized that the last film I talked about from the ‘90s was the 1990 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. This is another reason why I chose Matinee for my 220-follower dedication review, as the movie was released in 1993. Before I start this review, I’d like to thank all of my followers! I’m incredibly grateful for the success this blog has achieved!

Matinee poster created by Universal Pictures. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107529/mediaviewer/rm2632269312.

Things I liked about this film:

The acting: Any time I have seen one of John Goodman’s movies, I have noticed how his character has a larger-than-life personality. Even when John was voice-acting as Sully from Monsters, Inc., that character’s personality was very jovial and memorable. When it comes to John’s performance in Matinee, Lawrence Woolsey also had a larger-than-life personality. The persona that John brought to his role was commanding, allowing the audience to focus on him whenever he came on screen. His performance was not only consistent in this film, but it also plays a consistent part in John’s acting career. It’s nice to see actors you recognize from one movie appear in another one. Omri Katz and Kellie Martin are two good examples of this. I’m familiar with Omri because of his performance in Hocus Pocus. Kellie Martin’s small-screen work is what I have seen from her filmography. Watching Omri and Kellie’s performance in Matinee was a joy to watch! They had good on-screen chemistry and both of their portrayals were convincing!

The historical accuracy: The story of Matinee takes places during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Because of this, the presentation of the film needs to reflects that moment in history. The historical accuracy in this movie was executed so well, I felt like I was transported to 1962. All of the costumes looked like the wardrobe you’d see on a typical episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Cars from that time period can be seen cruising down the street, sporting color palettes that are not often seen on today’s roads. Lawrence’s sea green convertible with matching interior is one example. Even the music set the tone for that environment. When Sherry’s ex-boyfriend, Harvey, returns to town, The Angels’ song, “My Boyfriend’s Back” is heard. Even though this song was released in 1963, the overall sound reflects the soundtrack of that period in time.

The special effects: I was not expecting the creative team behind Matinee to incorporate any special effects into their project. However, these special effects were impressive! They were mostly used during the presentation of Lawrence’s movie, Mant! At certain points in the fictional film, smoke and flashing lights could be seen. Matinee’s climax boasts even more eye-catching effects! In one scene, a section of the theater is being destroyed. During this moment, the theater rumbled as flames engulfed the background. The way these effects came together made this destruction look so real! They also looked very good for a movie released in 1993!

Relevant ideas: I was surprised to find ideas within this story that are just as relevant in 2020 as they were in the ‘90s or even the ‘60s. When Gene and Stan pass by their local grocery store, they see patrons shopping in panic. These patrons grab everything in sight, with one woman buying as much toilet paper as she can carry. While the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Coronavirus are two completely different events, both of them have caused a large group of people to panic. Toward the beginning of the Coronavirus, grocery stores were witnessing the fear their customers carried. The situation became so dire, there were reports about people fighting over toilet paper.

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

What I didn’t like about the film:

Under-utilized characters: I found some characters in Matinee to be under-utilized more than others. One of them was Gene’s brother, Dennis. From a historical fiction perspective, I understand that Dennis is meant to show how younger children might have responded to an event like the Cuban Missile Crisis. But from the perspective of Lawrence’s movie presentation, I asked myself why Dennis was in the story at all? This makes me wish this particular character had received his own subplot.

Weaker subplots: A few of Matinee’s subplots were either too straight-forward or didn’t lead anywhere. A perfect example involves two of Lawrence’s employees, who pose as a special interest group attempting to ban his movie. Like Dennis’ presence in Matinee, I understand that this part of the narrative contains historical context, showing how some people choose to publicly dislike something to the point of protest. But after they interact with Harvey, these employees disappeared from the film. They didn’t receive a satisfying resolution and were forgotten about as the movie progressed.

Coming soon movie image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Anyone who knows me knows that Phantom of the Megaplex is my favorite Disney Channel movie. It showed me how movies, as well as the movie-going experience, can be fun. Even though Matinee was released seven years prior, it reminded me a lot of the 2000 picture. They happen to share similar ideas, some of them beyond the subject of film. This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed Matinee so much! It was funny and, at times, clever, with relevant ideas woven into the story. The film also had solid components, like the acting and special effects. Most important is how Matinee was fun! In a year when so much has happened, movies can play a role in providing a form of escapism and making viewers feel like they can conquer something, even when events in their world are beyond their control. Before the presentation of Mant!, Lawrence explains to the theater employees why it’s important to release his movie at that given time. He tells them that, despite scary things appearing in his picture, he wants to remind his audience that everything is going to be ok. Lawrence also shares that he wants to remind his audience that his film’s villain can be defeated.

Overall score: 8.5 out of 10

Have you seen Matinee? What movies involving movies have you enjoyed watching? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Why I’m Siding with Universal in the AMC vs. Universal Debate

Last week, AMC and Regal theaters made the bold decision to ban movies from Universal Studios. This came on the heels of an unexpected, yet successful, VOD (video on demand) run of Trolls: World Tour. Since this announcement, a debate over which side made the right choice has started on the internet. After some consideration, I thought I’d join this debate by expressing my perspectives through this editorial. As you read in the title, I have sided with Universal Studios. In my editorial, I will highlight three reasons why I think Universal is in the right when it comes to this situation. Before I begin, I would like to point out that this post is not meant to be mean-spirited and negative toward anyone. This article is created to simply express my opinion.

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Universal Has More Mouths to Feed

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on the economy. Many industries have lost their finances as well as their employees. Because of the orders to “social-distance” and self-quarantine, businesses that attract large crowds have been forced to temporarily close their doors. Movie theaters are just one of them, with studios postponing some of their theatrical releases until it is safe for everyone to enjoy their films. Even though movie theaters have a legitimate place in communities around the world, they only offer one service: showing movies. The employees that work for any movie theater play an important role. But every job at that theater comes back to making the movie-going experience the best it can be. AMC Theatres offers a video on demand service, which means they have some more employees than a typical theater. However, Universal has different key components to their company. Besides the movie division, Universal also has a television department, with the ownership of NBC and other affiliated networks. Comcast is owned by Universal as well and they have four theme parks. Movie theaters have been financially impacted by the Coronavirus, but Universal Studios is also in the same boat.

Child Carousel
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Universal Had Always Planned on Releasing Films Theatrically

When the CEOs of Regal and AMC Theaters have been asked about their decision to ban Universal’s movies, they have made it seem like Universal intentionally tried to hurt the movie theaters. Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Regal’s parent company, Cineworld, said “not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window – but Universal was the only studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released”. Meanwhile, Adam Aron, AMC’s CEO, said “this radical change by Universal to the business model that currently exists between our two companies represents nothing but downside for us and is categorically unacceptable to AMC Entertainment”. Despite AMC and Regal’s animosity toward Universal, Universal claims they never intended to shut the theaters out. The studio said in a response to AMC that “we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense”. Their recent actions seem to match these words. One of the first films that was rescheduled due to the Coronavirus was the latest James Bond installment, No Time to Die. It will get a theatrical release, but not until November 25th. Fast and Furious 9 was also postponed, receiving a theatrical date next April. While Universal has released some of their titles on VOD, most of them were smaller films. One of these films was the 2020 remake of Jane Austin’s Emma. Similar to Trolls: World Tour, this movie was released around the “eye of the storm”. To make up for financial losses, Universal adapted to the global situation the best they could and tried to keep their business afloat.

Cinema Background Illustration
Coming soon movie image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

The Movie Theaters Have Weak Arguments

Before writing this editorial, I read several articles and watched several videos about this subject. I have come to the conclusion that the arguments presented by the movie theaters are very weak. In an article from the website, Pirates & Princesses, Kambrea reports that John Fithian, the President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, stated “Universal heavily marketed the title as a theatrical release, in theaters and elsewhere, for weeks on end”. As I mentioned before in this editorial, Trolls: World Tour was released around the Coronavirus’ “eye of the storm”. Universal, or any other company, did not know how bad the Coronavirus was going to get. If this had never happened and things had gone according to plan, Universal would have continued to release Trolls: World Tour in theaters. Earlier in this editorial, I also mentioned that AMC Theatres has a video on demand service. If they offered Trolls: World Tour on this service, wouldn’t AMC and Universal benefit from that decision? Even though AMC and Regal have banned Universal’s projects, the studio is not the only one to put their upcoming movies on VOD. Kambrea, from Pirates & Princesses, reported how Disney’s Artemis Fowl, which had a May 29th theatrical release, will now receive a June 12th release date on Disney+. In theory, Disney did the exact same thing Universal did. However, AMC and Regal have not announced any plans to ban Disney’s films from being shown at their theaters. This makes the theaters look hypocritical.

Basic RGB
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The 21st century has never experienced a medical situation of this magnitude before. Because of this, all divisions of the economy were forced to respond the best they could. This includes Universal, who have multiple components to their company. I don’t believe they did anything wrong by releasing Trolls: World Tour on VOD. If anything, the movie theaters’ reaction to this choice has made them appear out-of-touch with not only the digital consumer landscape, but also with how this virus has affected the financial health of the economy. I understand that movie theaters need to make money to keep the lights on. But intentionally hurting another business is not going to make the Coronavirus go away any sooner. This kind of mindset is what makes companies regress, reminding me a lot of Blockbuster’s demise. Just because we are “social-distancing” doesn’t mean we have to push each other away.

 

Sally Silverscreen

 

Here are the sources for this editorial:

Is PVOD The Future of Hollywood Releases? North America Theatre Owners Hope Not

‘Artemis Fowl’ Releasing to Disney+ on June 12th

AMC, Regal Ban Universal Movies From Their Theaters After Studio Throws Rock at Theatrical Window

Universal Responds To AMC: Studio Believes In Theatrical, But Expects To Release Movies Directly To Theatres & PVOD When “Outlet Makes Sense”

https://www.amctheatres.com/about/on-demand

Universal Studios Theme Park Locations Worldwide

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/watch-trolls-world-tour-birds-of-prey-sonic-hedgehog-streaming-now/

Movies Delayed Because of Coronavirus

https://www.universalstudios.com/

https://18cinemalane.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/word-on-the-street-fast-and-furious-9-postponed-to-the-following-year/

 

 

Take 3: To Kill a Mockingbird Review

Before I start this review, 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!

 

Originally, I had planned on reviewing To Kill a Mockingbird for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s A Month Without the Code Blogathon. Since The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon was given an April participation date and because I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the time of the event’s announcement, I decided to review the film adaptation a lot sooner than I expected. For years, I had heard great things about the novel. The now famous quotes have been plastered all over the internet, sounding deep and thought-provoking against backgrounds of characters’ pictures from the film. No literary list would be complete without To Kill a Mockingbird’s inclusion. What caused me to pick up a copy, and eventually see the movie, was the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson. This situation taking place in a time that is very different from today brought up a lot of questions. How would Atticus approach the case? Was Tom innocent? How different was the court system back then? For a while, this book was sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for the day when it would be read. Because of this blogathon, the day to read the book and see the movie has finally come!

To Kill a Mockingbird poster
To Kill a Mockingbird poster created by Brentwood Productions, Pakula-Mulligan, and Universal Pictures. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:To_Kill_a_Mockingbird_(1963_US_theatrical_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: In my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I talked about how the characters in that movie appeared as if they came from real-life. This is partly the result of the quality of the actors’ performances. The aforementioned strengths are shared by both films. While watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I noticed how all the performances felt realistic. The actors brought enough emotion and animation to their roles, in order to bring their characters to life. I enjoyed watching the performances in this film. However, the two standouts came from Collin Wilcox Paxton (who portrayed Mayella Ewell) and Brock Peters (who portrayed Tom Robinson). Even though they appeared on screen for a limited amount of time, they were able to bring so much emotion and power to their roles. These elements allowed Collin and Brock to elevate their characters as well as the source material.

 

How the source material was presented: Looking back on the book, the story itself was 20% about the trial and 80% about the “slice of life” perspective Scout offers to the readers. This imbalance is what caused me to not enjoy the book as much as I had expected. The film’s creative team makes an effort to create a balance between these two ideas by removing scenes that would have felt like padding. In the book, the majority of a chapter is devoted to the Halloween carnival/play and what caused that event to take place. The movie, however, only shows Jem and Scout arriving and leaving the school. The way some scenes were presented in the movie highlighted Atticus’ abilities as a lawyer more effectively than in the book. When Atticus to talking to Scout about compromises and trying to see things from another person’s perspective, the scene places more emphasis on Atticus himself delivering the message, showing the values he follows as a lawyer. In the book, it feels like these lessons are rehashing information most readers already know.

 

Moments of suspense: There were some scenes containing suspenseful moments that were periodically placed in the film. One of these moments takes place in the scene when Atticus visits Helen Robinson for the first time. While Jem is sitting in Atticus’ car, Bob Ewell drunkenly approaches the vehicle. Because this is the first time Bob is introduced on screen and because he is presented in a disorderly state, Bob’s decisions and actions are very unpredictable. Scenes like this one maintained the overall story’s intrigue. It maintained my investment in the film as well. These scenes featuring suspenseful moments also allowed the creative team to adopt story-telling elements like the use of shadows and dramatic music.

Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner
The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner created by Paul from Silver Screen Classics. Image found at https://silverscreenclassicsblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/announcing-the-2020-classic-literature-on-film-blogathon/?wref=tp.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The trial taking place at a later time: As I said in the introduction, the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson is what made me want to read the book. When I did read it, I was disappointed to discover the trial itself took place sixteen out of thirty-one chapters into the story. In the movie, the trial appears at the halfway point. In this case, I fault the source material more than the film’s creative team. Even though I had to wait an hour for the trial to be presented on screen, the creative team did try their best to get to that point as soon as possible.

 

Some unclear details: Some details in this movie were unclear, especially if someone didn’t read the book before they saw the movie. In the book, Jem and Scout are introduced to Reverend Sykes when they attend Mass at Calpurnia’s church. When the trial takes place, they agree to sit with Reverend Sykes in the balcony section of the courthouse. Because the church service was omitted from the movie, there’s no clear explanation provided for how Jem and Scout know Reverend Sykes. It might have helped if details like this one were given some context.

 

The voice-over: The book is told from the perspective of an adult reflecting on their childhood. However, the movie presented the events as if they are taking place in “present-time”. Because of this decision, it allows the events to speak for themselves. This makes the voice-over seem like an unnecessary component. The voice-over was also not consistently included in the movie, causing its presence to not feel justified.

Law Justice Isometric Composition Icon
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My overall impression:

There are very few times when I feel a film adaptation is better than its literary source material. In fact, the two previous instances that I can think of are Hallmark’s Hall of Fame’s The Beach House and Hallmark Channel’s Rome in Love. After watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I have now found a third adaptation to add to that list. I’m not a fan of “slice of life” stories, hence why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had expected. While these aspects of the “slice of life” story were incorporated in the movie, the creative team’s main focus was about getting straight to the point a lot sooner. The visual nature of film worked in the favor of certain elements from the source material. Suspenseful moments in certain scenes are one great example. Reading about those moments in a book does cause a level of uncertainty. Watching them take place on screen makes those moments seem real and intensifies that uncertainty. If I known my feelings about this movie before reading the book, I honestly would have skipped the book and gone straight to the movie.

 

Overall score: 8.1 out of 10

 

Have you read any classic literature? If so, did you see its film adaptation, if it has one? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Fast and Furious 9 Postponed to the Following Year

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.

 

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

 

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 Furious 9 will now be released in April of 2021, “with North America opening on April 2”.

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Since this article is about the Fast and Furious franchise,  I felt this picture would be appropriate to feature here. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Fast and Furious 9 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.

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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.

 

Stay safe and healthy.

Sally Silverscreen

 

Sources for this Word on the Street story:

Rumor: Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow Film Could Be Delayed Due To Coronavirus

Vin Diesel’s Fast 9 Delayed To April 2021

‘A Quiet Place 2’ Release Delayed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

‘Mulan,’ ‘New Mutants’ Releases Delayed in Wake of Coronavirus

Word on the Street: Super Bowl rolls out 11 Movie Trailers

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.

Football Sport Stadium Isometric Composition
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Pregame

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.

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Popcorn and movie ticket image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/cinema-tickets-in-bucket-with-popcorn_2303439.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/layout”>Layout image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Game

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.

Cinema Background Illustration
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Have you seen any of the Super Bowl movie trailers? If so, which one was your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Jurassic World Review + 105 Follower Thank You

Last month, I received 105 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! Because I took two out-of-town trips and had several blog related projects on my plate, I wasn’t able to create this post as soon as I had hoped to. Since I wanted to publish this review before the end of the month, I put aside some time to finally share this post with all of my followers. Before I received 100 followers, I had a system for choosing which movies I would review. Now that I have more than 100 followers, I found a new way of picking out movies to write about, especially since it’s difficult to find movies that are older than 100 years old. Whenever I reach a milestone number of followers, I will pick a movie that was released in the same month as when I received this milestone. To determine which year this movie will be from, I will flip a two-sided coin. If the coin lands on the heads side, the movie will be from a year that starts with the number “1”. If the coin lands on the tail side, the movie will be from a year that starts with the number “2”. When this happens, I will flip the coin again. If it lands on the heads side, the year’s last two digits will start with the number “0”. If it lands on the tail side, the year’s last two digits will start with the number “1”. After this step, I will roll a piece of dice. For a year starting with a “1”, I will roll the dice twice, in order to determine the year’s last two digits. For a year starting with a “2”, I will only roll the dice once. I apologize if this process sounds more confusing than it actually is. I tried to explain it the best that I could. Anyways, after I completed this new process for the first time, the movie that I was to review for this post ended up being from May of 2015. Since I saw Jurassic Park last year, I decided to watch its continuation, Jurassic World. How did this four-year-old film compare to a twenty-six year old classic? The only way to find out to by reading my review!

Jurassic World poster
Jurassic World poster created by Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jurassic_World_poster.jpg.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: For the most part, the acting in Jurassic World was good! Prior to watching this film, I had seen Chris Pratt’s acting performance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. While there are dramatic moments within these films, Chris has partaken in comedic acting more than dramatic acting. In Jurassic World, Chris’ performance was more dramatic, with only a few comedic moments. It was great to see a different side of Chris’ acting talents, especially when he was able to pull off a really good performance! Another performance that I was impressed with came from Ty Simpkins. Before seeing Jurassic World, I had remembered his performance in Iron Man 3. What I liked about this performance was that Ty was given more acting material to work with than in the aforementioned Marvel film. This allowed him to explore more emotions as well as the character’s backstory. What Ty brought to the role, acting wise, was interesting and entertaining!

 

  • The special effects: While watching Jurassic World, I found myself being impressed with the special effects! One of the most memorable parts of Jurassic Park was the quality of the CGI. This was also a highlight of the 2015 continuation. The dinosaurs and other creatures looked very life-like, even when they were next to the human characters. The level of detail in the designs were beautiful, especially when it came to the eyes of these creatures! What was interesting about the dinosaurs in this movie was how they seemed to have their own personalities. This was a unique difference from Jurassic Park.

 

  • The scenery: I loved the scenery in this movie! The island landscape was not only great to look at, but it also fit the type of setting that the creative team behind this film was going for. The natural beauty of the foliage was a consistent aspect of the backdrop, just like in Jurassic Park. Jurassic World‘s theme park looked really cool! With all of the different attractions, this place appeared to be a lot of fun (when you take away the imminent danger, of course). Every aspect of the island was captured well on film!

Various animal toy figures in a colorful background
Colorful dinosaur image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/various-animal-toy-figures-in-a-colorful-background_3011200.htm’>Designed by Rawpixel.com</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • Thrills that weren’t consistent: In Jurassic Park, the story is thrilling from beginning to end. Almost immediately, the audience goes on an emotional roller-coaster ride. This is one of the factors that made this movie as enjoyable as it was. With Jurassic World, however, I never got that same feeling of a continuous thrill ride. Sure, there were several thrilling moments within the movie. But the build-up to the first, big, thrilling moment lasted for about 40 minutes. Because of this, it took me a while to get fully invested in the film.

 

  • Young characters who don’t have a strong significance: Similar to Jurassic Park, two young family members of one of the protagonists visit the island in Jurassic World. Unlike Jurassic Park, these family members didn’t have anywhere near as big of a significance as the children did in the predecessor. Tim and Lex, from Jurassic Park, were not just featured in the story for the sake of bringing more characters on the adventure. At one point in the film, Lex uses her computer skills in order to save the day. Zach and Gray, Claire’s nephews in Jurassic World, don’t really do anything to solve the film’s conflict. In fact, it felt like Zach and Gray were included in this story just because there were young characters in the first movie.

 

  • Moments of randomness: There were a few moments in Jurassic World that didn’t really make sense within the overall context of the story. For example, one of Claire’s nephews brings up the possibility of his parents getting a divorce. This leads the brothers to have a conversation about what would happen if their parents got a divorce. I found the inclusion of this conversation to be very random. This is because there were no explicit references to the idea prior to this moment. Had moments like these been eliminated from the film, I think the script would’ve been tighter.

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My overall impression:

Before I share my thoughts on this movie, I wanted to say thank you to all of my followers! Without you, 18 Cinema Lane would have never come as far as it has! Now, on to my overall impression of  Jurassic World. Personally, I thought it was decent, at best. Even though it stood solidly on its own merits, I still think that Jurassic Park was the more superior film among the two movies. Throughout Jurassic World, there were references to the first movie that I thought were well done. They didn’t distract the audience’s focus on the story, but complimented the plot instead. I also thought this was a nice touch to the film, as a way of commemorating what came before it, while also adding something new to the narrative. It just goes to show that, when it’s done with the best quality possible, new chapters to a franchise can work.

 

Overall score: 7.3 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on my new system of choosing movies for these reviews? Are you looking forward to my next review? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen