My Tier Rank List of Every Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie I’ve Seen!

Before I begin this article, I’d like to reminder everyone that the winners of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards have been announced! You can discover who won at this link:

 

The results of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards are finally here!

 

This year, I’ve seen several tier ranking videos on Youtube. While most of these videos have revolved around books, there have been a few that focus on films. As I watched these tier lists being created, I discovered how there was no list dedicated to Hallmark’s productions. So, I decided to fill that void by making a list of my own! Because Hallmark has created so many movies, my tier ranking list focuses on all the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies I have seen in my life. This article is based solely on my own opinion and is not meant to be mean-spirited in any way. I also created this list to bring unique content to my blog. I was trying to complete this post yesterday, but this project took longer than I expected, so I apologize for its late arrival. For this tier ranking list, there will be five categories; Bottom of the Barrel, Ok, Decent/Fine, Good, and Great. I will give each film a brief, but thorough explanation for why it has earned that placement.

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Because I don’t have a Twitter account, I wasn’t able to make my list on tiermaker.com. So, I created this list on Microsoft Powerpoint. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Bottom of the Barrel

Back When We Were Grown-Ups

Anyone who has read my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time would not be surprised to see this movie placed in the Bottom of the Barrel category. To me, this is not only the worst Hallmark Hall of Fame picture, but also the worst Hallmark project ever made. If you’d like to learn more about why I don’t like Back When We Were Grown-Ups, you can check out my list of the Worst Hallmark Movies at this link:

The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time

 

Firelight

This is another movie I talked about in my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list. I’ve only seen Firelight once, but I found it to be so forgettable. When I think about this movie, on rare occasions, I wonder what message it was trying to deliver to their audience? If I, as an audience member, can’t determine what the intended purpose of that specific film is, that likely means something went wrong during the creative process. The rest of my thoughts on Firelight are found in my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list at this link:

The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time

 

A Painted House

From what I remember, the overall plot was very lackluster. I also found the premise revolving around a child rarely lying to be unbelievable. A Painted House contains other flaws that prevented me from enjoying this picture. One of them was how a few characters were unlikable for no clear reason. For a stand-alone film, having it end on a cliff-hanger wasn’t a good idea. I haven’t read John Grisham’s novel, so I’m not sure if the film’s creative team adopted any liberties for this project.

 

Ok

Rose Hill

While I don’t think Rose Hill is a bad movie, I just wasn’t impressed with the final project. The story as a whole was not the most interesting and Rose herself seemed to sit on the sidelines of her own story. There was a mystery within this script, but that part of the story was poorly executed. This surprises me, as Hallmark Hall of Fame released a film in 1990 with a similar story concept titled Caroline?

 

My Sister’s Keeper

I liked the first half of this movie, where the audience witnesses the two sisters growing up alongside each other. It provided strong opportunities for each sister to receive character development and the film’s first half felt like it was building up to something bigger. When the second half of the movie arrives and both sisters become adults, the project hits a stand-still where nothing interesting happens. I will say the high-light of My Sister’s Keeper is seeing Kathy Bates riding on an elephant.

 

Loving Leah

I’ve only seen about 50% of this movie. However, based on what I saw, I found the project to be just ok. I didn’t find myself feeling emotionally invested in the story like I did with other Hall of Fame titles. I wouldn’t mind re-watching this one, and maybe even reviewing it, to see if I still hold the same opinion.

 

The Makeover

When I first saw this film, I thought it was decent/fine. But since its 2013 release, it has been relegated to ok status. The Makeover is a glorified Hallmark Channel movie, complete with the male and female protagonist falling in love with each other. In fact, Hallmark’s first network released a movie with a similar premise the year prior called Fixing Pete. Maybe the first Hallmark Hall of Fame project of 2013 should have been given a stronger story.

 

Blind Spot

Blind Spot was decent/fine upon initial viewing, but is now in the ok category. The film’s cautionary message was given more emphasis than the plot. This caused the movie to feel like it belonged on Lifetime when these kinds of films were in their hey-day. As I’ve said before, Karina Arroyave stars in this Hall of Fame presentation. However, her talents were under-utilized in this picture.

 

The Magic of Ordinary Days

This is one of the most beloved titles Hallmark has ever made. However, I don’t like or love this project as much as other people do. I found the main plot to be too unbelievable for my liking. Hallmark also glossed over the subject of Japanese internment camps when they could have provided some commentary on how prejudice can negatively affect someone’s perspective. There was one romantic relationship that I knew wasn’t going to lead anywhere, making me wonder why it was included in the first place. The Magic of Ordinary Days is another Hall of Fame movie based on a book, so I don’t know what elements from the novel where translated to the screen.

 

Promise

I reviewed this film for the James Garner Blogathon back in February. On the dvd cover, it is considered “the most-honored television movie of all time”. But, to me, the project is a bit on the over-rated side. I’m not a fan of “slice-of-life” stories, which is exactly what the plot of Promise is. The road to educating the audience about Mental Illness seems like it was paved with good intentions. As I say in my review, it could have been executed better though. You can read my review at the link below if you want to learn more about my thoughts on Promise.

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Promise Review

 

Decent/Fine

Just in Time for Christmas

Back in 2015, I felt Just in Time for Christmas was a good movie. After giving it some more thought, I’ve come to see the film as just fine. Like The Makeover, the project is a glorified Hallmark Channel movie. But, unlike the aforementioned 2013 release, Just in Time for Christmas tried to do something different with their creative material. Time travel is rarely incorporated in any of Hallmark’s projects. This release was, I believe, the first time it had been included in a Hallmark Hall of Fame title.

 

In Love and War

When The World War II Blogathon took place last September, In Love and War is the film I chose to review. As a movie, I liked it for it was. But, as a Hall of Fame picture, it didn’t leave as big of an emotional impact as other titles from this collection have. For a story taking place during World War II, there wasn’t a lot of action in it. There was also an imbalance between the ideas of “love” and “war”. If you want to read my review for In Love and War, you can click on the link below:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s In Love and War Review

 

Beyond the Blackboard

I haven’t seen this movie since its 2011 release. From I remember, it was just fine. While I liked the acting, the story was straight-forward. I also found the part about the pregnant teacher working and, eventually, bringing her baby to a compromising environment to be unbelievable. Like I said about Loving Leah, I’m not opposed to re-watching this movie and reassessing my opinion on it.

 

Front of the Class

This is another picture I haven’t seen in years. However, I thought Front of the Class was a fine film. Similar to In Love and War, it didn’t leave a big, emotional impact on me. But, as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t mind watching this movie again and seeing if my thoughts on it have changed.

 

Good

The Secret Garden

In my Bonus Double Feature last September, I talked about Hallmark Hall of Fame’s version of The Secret Garden. I liked this adaptation, but I found it to be drawn-out. Looking back on this movie, it seems like the creative team placed so much emphasis on respecting the source material, they forgot to bring their own voice to the table. You can check out my thoughts on three different adaptations of The Secret Garden at these links:

An Introduction to My Bonus Double Feature

My Bonus Double Feature Has Arrived!

The Conclusion to My Bonus Double Feature

 

The Boys Next Door

I feel The Boys Next Door is one of the more under-rated titles from the Hall of Fame collection. The acting is solid and the perception of individuals with disabilities is mostly positive. My favorite character from this movie is Barry Klemper, but I felt he was under-utilized in the overall story. Also, some of the language toward the four men with disabilities reflects the time period the film was released in. I wonder how different the play this movie is based on is different from this adaptation?

 

The Valley of Light

Despite not having seen this movie since its 2007 release, I remember really liking this film! “She won’t give me my chocolate” is still one of my favorite quotes from a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. This film also contains one of the most shocking plot twists in the history of this collection. I definitely want to re-watch this film and possibly share my thoughts on this movie viewing experience!

 

Love Locks

As I have said before on this blog, Love Locks is the first newer Hall of Fame title that made me feel like this branch of Hallmark was going back to their roots! Yes, this is the type of story you’d likely find in Hallmark Channel movies. But the way Love Locks was presented made the overall project feel like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. I also like the movie’s original poster, as it is one of the most creative pieces of marketing in Hallmark history! Personally, I think this is a good picture if you want to introduce someone to the Hall of Fame collection!

 

Love Takes Flight

This is the most recent release from the Hall of Fame collection I’ve talked about, as I reviewed the film last April. Love Takes Flight is a better movie than its marketing campaign made it seem. However, as I’ve noticed with the newer Hall of Fame titles, it lacks emotional depth because it feels like it adopted Hallmark Channel’s “formula”. It also contains other flaws, like having too many plots. Here’s the link to my review of Love Takes Flight if you’re interested in reading it:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight Review

 

The Beach House

The Beach House is another Hallmark Hall of Fame film that was given less-than-stellar marketing. But this didn’t stop it from being better than I expected! As someone who has also read the book, I think the movie did a better job at telling the story than its source material did! I also believe the overall quality of this project is a good reminder of why the Hall of Fame branch exists. This is another title I reviewed, so I’ll provide the link to that post here:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Beach House Review

 

Christmas Everlasting

I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Everlasting when it was released in 2018! In fact, the only aspect of the film I didn’t like was the limited on-screen presence Patti LaBelle received, as I expected her to have a larger role in the film. Similar to other Hall of Fame titles I’ll mention, this movie features a mystery within the overall plot. Mysteries are not often found in Hallmark Hall of Fame projects, so I like how Christmas Everlasting helped bring something different to the table. I reviewed this movie as well, so here is the link:

Take 3: Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas Everlasting Review

 

The Christmas Train

I liked this movie and the book it was based on! The overall execution of this project made it feel like a Hall of Fame production, making this the collection’s first newer Christmas film to make me feel this way. Similar to Christmas Everlasting, The Christmas Train incorporates a mystery into their story. While this element is also in the book, it brings a unique component to Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas line-up. It’s also special in how most of the film’s events take place on a train, which is rare for a Hall of Fame movie!

 

The Lost Valentine

This is a good, but sad film! While I appreciate the effort that has gone into Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas movies, it’s nice to see other holidays receive recognition within this branch of Hallmark. The use of flashbacks enhanced the overall story, giving context to the events being presented on screen. Because of how sad the film is, the re-watchability rate is on the lower side of the spectrum. But this is a project I would definitely recommend!

 

A Dog Named Christmas

A Dog Named Christmas is another Hall of Fame Christmas film I genuinely enjoyed! It does a good job at effectively showing how someone can make a difference in their community. Since this movie places a lot of attention on the titular dog, some story elements end up being over-looked. One of them is seeing how the main protagonist lives his life with a disability. I know there’s a prequel to this film called Christmas with Tucker. I haven’t seen it, but I’d like to see how it holds up to A Dog Named Christmas!

 

Sweet Nothing in My Ear

I saw this movie for the first time in 2020 and it made me miss the Hallmark Hall of Fame films of yester-year. Even though this story revolves around a debate, the overall project was interesting to watch. Both sides are treated equally and are given enough time to present their case. I don’t like the ending, but I can understand why the creative team made that specific choice. Sweet Nothing in My Ear is a unique addition to the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection!

 

Pictures of Hollis Woods

I haven’t seen this movie in years, but I recall having a good experience watching it. However, this film has flown under the radar for far too long. The acting is good and the overarching message of family is incorporated into the story very well. I also remember one of the characters lives in and owns a movie theater. This was a highlight for me because that is a dream of mine.

 

Missing Pieces

As I’ve said before, mysteries are not often found in Hallmark Hall of Fame projects. It is even rarer when the entire plot is a mystery story. The overall quality of the film’s writing is strong and I also liked the acting performances. However, like I said about Blind Spot, Karina Arroyave’s talents were under-utilized in this project. I’m surprised this movie has never been aired on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, as this title fits the network’s brand.

 

Grace & Glorie

One of the plot points of this film is a woman from a big city moving to a small town. However, it never felt like the project was following a formula. Instead, the story focuses on the friendship between Grace and Gloria. This part of the movie provided interesting opportunities for character development and exploration of certain themes. The movie also showcased wonderful scenery.

 

Great

Christmas with Holly

In Christmas with Holly, the protagonist and his brothers take care of Holly after she loses her mother. This part of the movie reminded me of Three Men and a Baby. But what’s great about this 2012 release is how it takes a pre-existing story structure and creates a different narrative with it. While there was a romance in this film, it was never heavily emphasized like in other Hall of Fame titles. The overall story felt well-rounded.

 

A Smile as Big as the Moon

This is one of my favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame films! I was really impressed with the overall quality of the project when I first saw it in 2012. There is so much to like about this movie, from the acting performances to the messages and themes. To me, this is the perfect example of what a Hall of Fame should be.

 

November Christmas

I’m not going to lie; I thought the title sounded ridiculous when I first heard it. But the movie was better than I expected it to be! This film does a good job at exploring how childhood cancer can affect a child and the people around them. It also has a genuine sincerity that doesn’t feel too mushy or manipulative. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this is a good choice to watch around Christmas-time!

 

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are known for having larger budgets than a typical Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film. The creative team behind The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler used that budget to their advantage. The presentation of this film is so good, it feels like a theatrical release! Everything about the movie feels like it is of the highest quality. I honestly wish Hallmark created more Hall of Fame pictures like this one.

 

Follow the Stars Home

From the moment I first saw this movie, I knew it would be a winner! But it sometimes feels like this film doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The acting performances from the whole cast is one of the strongest components of this project. This movie also contains one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. Follow the Stars Home does a good job at balancing the lighted-hearted and serious moments of the story.

 

The Sarah, Plain and Tall trilogy

This series introduced me to Hallmark Hall of Fame as well as Hallmark films in general. I’d say this is one of the strongest trilogies in film history! The overall quality is consistent and it feels like the creative team truly cared about the project they were making. I would like to see Hallmark attempt another series within their Hallmark Hall of Fame branch!

 

Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster is an excellent, but sad film! What makes this movie work is Jena Malone’s performance, as she carries the entire project! This movie features one of the few times where a young person is the film’s lead. The story as a whole is an emotional roller coaster ride that makes its audience experience a variety of feelings. I haven’t read the book this film is based on, but I’d be interested in reading how emotionally intense it is compared to the film.

 

What the Deaf Man Heard

I have fallen in love with this movie since I first saw it! It does a great job showing how far someone will go to show their love for another person. This film also shows how easy it is for people to take things at face value. There are other solid messages in this story, but I don’t want to spoil it. What the Deaf Man Heard is another Hall of Fame title I can’t recommend enough! It’s also based on a book, so I’d like to read it someday!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The Second Poll of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards is here!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Because today is February 14th, I decided to change things up a little bit. Instead of posting the Best Story poll as the second poll of this year’s Gold Sally Awards, I decided to post the Best On-Screen Couple poll earlier than I did last year! In this poll, you’ll be voting on who was the best on-screen couple from movies I saw in 2019. Similar to the previous poll, you are allowed to vote for more than one on-screen couple. But you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, on February 14th, and ends on February 20th.

happy valentine's day red background
Valentine’s Day image created by Starline at freepik.com <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Starline – Freepik.com</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/happy-valentine-s-day-red-background_1725125.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

https://linkto.run/p/BX23J49A

Who is the Best On-Screen Couple of 2019?
Cindy Busby and Ben Hollingsworth – A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love
Paul Greene and Maggie Lawson – Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy
Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Fiona Gubelmann and Brendan Penny – Easter Under Wraps
Melissa Claire Egan and Marc Blucas – Holiday for Heroes
Jill Wagner and Kristoffer Polaha – Mystery 101: Words Can Kill
Italia Ricci and Peter Porte – Rome in Love
Vincent Perez and Rachel Weisz – Swept from the Sea
Elizabeth Mitchell and Cameron Mathison – The Christmas Club
Brandon Routh and Kimberley Sustad — The Nine Lives of Christmas
Created with PollMaker

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Dracula (1931) Review + 180 Follower Thank You

Before I start the introduction of this review, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, February 13th, is the last day to cast vote in the first poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The second poll will be posted on Valentine’s Day! Here is the link to the poll:

 

The First Poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards has begun!

 

In the past two years, I have reviewed a Valentine’s themed Hallmark movie on February 14th. But since this year’s polls for the Gold Sally Awards are taking place on Fridays and because Hallmark has chosen not to air a new Valentine’s themed movie on Valentine’s Day, I decided to do something different in 2020. Five days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 180 followers! For this review, I chose to talk about Dracula for three reasons. 1. This movie was released in February of 1931. 2. The movie premiered on Valentine’s Day. 3. Valentine’s Day is a time when we show appreciation to those who have helped us along the way. My followers have definitely done that during my two years of blogging. With that, I have dedicated this special blog follower dedication review to all my followers in honor of Valentine’s Day! As I discuss this film, I realize Dracula is the fifth vampire movie I’ve reviewed on my blog! Who knew that vampires in cinema would be a recurring topic at 18 Cinema Lane?

Dracula 1931 poster
Dracula (1931) poster image created by Universal Pictures. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dracula _-_1931_theatrical_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: For years, I have heard great things about Bela Lugosi as an actor. Even though this is the first film of Bela’s I have seen, I can understand why people give him this amount of praise! His portrayal of Dracula was commanding and captivating, effortlessly directing the audience’s attention towards him. Bela was very expressive through his facial expressions and body language. But the emotions in his eyes are what elevated his performance! Great examples of this are whenever Dracula appeared in front of his victims. Another expressive performance came from Dwight Frye! The character of Renfield was executed really well because of the versatility of Dwight’s acting abilities. Before and during his stay at Dracula’s castle, his demeanor was calm and collected. After becoming Dracula’s victim, his persona changes to being paranoid and on-edge. I was also impressed with Helen Chandler’s portrayal of Mina! Her on-screen personality was likable and sweet. Similar to Bela Lugosi, her eyes provided the emotion for her performance. A great example is when Mina is looking intently at her fiancé toward the end of the film.

 

The set design: I really liked seeing the overall set design in Dracula! It was constructed really well and fit the world the film’s creative team was trying to bring to life. Dracula’s castle and the Abbey in London were the two best locations in this movie! These places were grand in scale and felt larger than life. For Dracula’s castle, elements like spiderwebs and trees growing through broken windows created an unsettling environment. In the Abbey, a large, winding staircase was impressively captured on film. The locations in this movie were grandiose and had a sense of style to them!

 

The lighting: The way that lighting was used in this film was very interesting! Even though parts of the movie took place at nighttime, enough lighting was used to show what was taking place on screen. The times when Dracula is waking up from his coffin are good examples. Another creative way that lighting was used was anytime Dracula approached his victims. His eyes are the only things captured by the light, highlighting one of Bela’s best qualities as an actor. It also indicates how intense the power of his eyes is on humans. The lighting in Dracula helped make the project visually appealing!

Dracula Lobby Card
Dracula (1931) lobby card image created by Universal Pictures. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/73563/Dracula/#.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Limited amount of music: The power of music can be very influential when it comes to film. Music can be used to set a tone for a particular scene or enhance the events happening on screen. In Dracula, however, music was used sparingly. Only two scenes and the opening credits is where music could be heard. The rest of the movie is music-free. Had there been orchestral music during moments when Dracula is in the presence of his victims, it would have brought a certain intensity toward those moments. It also would have highlighted the fear that can come from such an event. Sadly, music in this project felt underutilized.

 

Treading on familiar territory: It has been said that Nosferatu is the story of Dracula. But because of copyright laws at the time of the film’s creation, direct references to Dracula had to be removed. While watching the 1931 version of Dracula, I could tell that certain patterns in story-telling mirrored the 1922 silent film. In fact, certain events almost followed the predecessor beat-by-beat. Since I saw Nosferatu prior to seeing the 1931 picture, I feel like I knew what would happen, leaving little to no room for any surprises. While this movie did have some differences from the 1922 film, it wasn’t enough to create its own identity.

 

The run-time: Dracula is a one hour and fifteen-minute film. After Renfield meets Dracula in his castle, the movie kind of drags on, making it feel longer than its run-time suggests. Some moments felt like they were included to provide padding, such as the “woman in white” story. Personally, I think this film should have been less than an hour. This story is pretty straight-forward and has a recognizable character. If it were eighty or ninety minutes, the film could get straight to the point sooner.

217423-P10C89-771
Valentine’s Day rose image created by Freepik at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/flat-valentine-s-day-background_1618951.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

My overall impression:

Dracula is a film that I found to be decent. There are aspects within the project that I liked, such as Bela Lugosi’s performance. However, the script played it safe when it came to the story. The creative team behind the movie didn’t really take any chances or try to think outside the box. In the end, the final product failed to create its own identity from its predecessor, Nosferatu. What I can say about this film is if you’ve seen Nosferatu, you’ve already seen Dracula. Compared to the other vampire movies I’ve reviewed, this movie would be placed around the same range as Queen of the Damned. While I liked both films for what they were, I think they could have been stronger. Before I end this review, I’d like to thank my followers for helping 18 Cinema Lane get this far! This blog has thrived every day because of you!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

What you do think of this special blog follower dedication review? Are you looking forward to seeing what I review when I receive 185 followers? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Collider Movie Talk Closes Its Doors, Upcoming February Films for Hallmark Revealed

Who knew I’d be publishing a Word on the Street post this soon into the New Year? In this story, I’ll be talking about two pieces of movie news. The first is about the end of a long-running movie related show. The second story will discuss the new Hallmark films that will likely premiere in February. As I sometimes do, I’ll be sharing my opinion as well as report each piece of news. So, let the first Word on the Street story of 2020 begin!

Closed
“Sorry We’re Closed” image created by gstudioimagen at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by gstudioimagen – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Two days ago, on January 2nd, the entertainment news company, Collider, made an announcement where they indicated big changes for their collection of content. One particular change that caught my attention was the discontinuation of the Youtube show, Collider Movie Talk. The company stated this decision was made to put more emphasis “towards expanding high-quality, scripted, unscripted, and celebrity-driven content”. Other Youtube shows that are also ending are Heroes, Jedi Council, and Collider Live. Personally, I’m not sad to see Collider Movie Talk go. I started watching the show in 2013, when it was known as AMC Movie Talk. For years, I appreciated the existence of a place where news related to movies was the number one priority. But, over time, I found other movie related Youtube channels that I ended up watching more than Collider Movie Talk. I also talk about movie news on 18 Cinema Lane. Some of these stories feature topics that would probably never get covered by Collider. It seems like competition is one of the reasons why Collider Movie Talk is closing their doors.

Sale, Happy Valentine Day lettering with bunch of balloons
Heart shaped balloons image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundvector created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

On the twitter amount, Hotline to Hallmark, the February line-up for both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries were revealed. In two separate tweets, movies from both networks were listed with potential release dates. On the official websites for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, synopses and lead actors were featured on their own pages. Here is a list of these films and their premises.

 

February 1stA Valentine’s Match, starring Luke Macfarlane and Bethany Joy Lenz (“Fired from her job as a reality TV host, Natalie returns home for Valentine’s Day, only to find herself running the town festival’s auction with her ex-fiancé thanks to two scheming mothers”.)

 

February 8thMatching Hearts, starring Ryan Paevey and Taylor Cole (“As Valentine’s Day nears, a matchmaker is tasked by her mentor to find a match for an entrepreneur who believes staying single is the key to success”).

 

February 15thThe Secret Ingredient, starring Brendan Penny and Erin Cahill (“Small-town baker, Kelly, gets a big surprise when she is invited to compete on a Valentine’s Day baking show in New York City – and an even bigger surprise when she runs into her ex-fiance”).

 

February 16thDead Over Diamonds: Picture Perfect Mysteries, starring Carlos and Alexa PenaVega (“Photographer Allie and Detective Sam’s investigation into a priceless stolen necklace leads to danger and an unexpected death”).

 

February 22ndLove in Store, starring Jackee Harry, Robert Buckley and Alexandra Breckenridge (“Two rival home shopping hosts are forced together while competing for a promotion. Along the way they find their on-air chemistry kindles an off-air spark”).

 

February 23rdRiddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, starring Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind (“Former detective Jeff Jackson teams up with Dr. Zee Madeiras to track down their friend’s missing emerald brooch, a thief, and also… a murderer”).

 

February 29thBad Date Chronicles, a PixL production from 2017, starring Justin Kelly and Merritt Patterson (“Leigh runs the website “Bad Date Chronicles,” which allows people to anonymously post horrible date experiences”).

 

Out of all the movies to premiere on Hallmark Channel, the two I find the most interesting are The Secret Ingredient and Love in Store. With the first movie, it’s the opposite of the “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché. This could lend itself to a more creative story. For the second film, I’m wondering what exactly the movie is about. Is it about two real estate agents who have their own reality shows or about people who sell products on QVC or HSN style programs? I’ve noticed with the films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that both stories feature fine jewelry. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or intentional. What disappoints me about this collection of films is that Hallmark doesn’t seem to be creating a Leap Year themed movie. From what I can recall, a movie from this network has never made a film featuring this once every four years celebration. Also, if Hallmark can make Christmas movies almost a year in advance, then why wouldn’t they plan ahead with a Leap Year movie?

 

How do you feel about these pieces of movie news? Are you sad to see Collider Movie Talk end? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Sources for this article are the following:

  • https://collider.com/collider-video-changes/
  • The official websites of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (type the title into the search bar)
  • Hotline to Hallmark’s twitter account (type @HotlineHallmark into the search bar)

 

 

Word on the Street: News about Upcoming and Potential Hallmark movies!

I am back with my first Word on the Street story for December! While Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups are winding down and the “Winterfest” line-up is on its way, I found several Hallmark related movie news stories that I had to share with my readers and followers. Some of these projects are currently in production, but others haven’t even started filming yet. Most of these stories come from the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark. Two of these movies can be found on the website, Creative B.C. For this post, I will be reporting on these pieces of movie news and share my sources within this article. Since there’s so many films to talk about and since most of the information is on the basic side, I won’t be sharing my insight this time.

Vector set of isometric illustrations making movies and watching a movie in the cinema.
Movie process chart created by Vectorpocket at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/vector-set-of-isometric-illustrations-making-movies-and-watching-a-movie-in-the-cinema_1215936.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by Vectorpocket – Freepik.com</a> Image found at freepik.com

On December 10th, the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark, released a tweet about a potential Hallmark project. In this post, it was announced that Hallmark actor, Clayton Chitty, will be starring in a film called “Blueprint to the Heart”. Also, the tweet mentioned that the movie’s network was unknown, as of December 2019. On the website, Creative B.C., this movie is listed on the “In Production” page. Apparently, this project will finish filming on December 13th. Six days prior, on December 4th, Cindy Busby, who is a regular star of Hallmark, tweeted that she was working on a movie in Australia. This tweet, that was re-tweeted by Hotline to Hallmark, shares a link to an article about the film. The article, found on if.com.au, revealed that the project is currently titled “Romance on the Menu”. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like a Hallmark movie. But, as of December 2019, it’s unknown where this film will premiere.

You can visit the Twitter account of Hotline to Hallmark by typing @HotlineHallmark into Twitter’s search bar.

The article about “Romance on the Menu”: https://www.if.com.au/first-time-feature-director-rosie-lourde-finds-romance-on-the-menu/

The link to Creative B.C.’s “In Production” page: https://www.creativebc.com/crbc-services/provincial-film-commission-services/in-production/films.php?type=tv_movie (after December 13th, “Blueprint to the Heart” will be removed from the page)

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String lights with hearts created by Freepik at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/valentine-s-day-background-with-string-lights_1476879.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

While the two aforementioned projects have no known fate, there are a few upcoming films that have been confirmed as Hallmark movies. Some of these confirmations have been announced from the stars of those films. One of them is a movie that will premiere in the 2020 Christmas season! In a tweet that was included in Hotline to Hallmark’s tweet, Brennan Elliott, a familiar face on both of Hallmark’s networks, revealed that he was working on a movie called “Christmas in Vienna”. In this same tweet, he also shared that the project would be filmed in Vienna, Austria and that the movie’s female lead will be Sarah Drew. Also, on Hotline to Hallmark, news about Taylor Cole’s Valentine’s Day movie was announced! In a Word on the Street story last month, I talked about how Taylor would be starring in a Hallmark Valentine’s Day movie alongside Ryan Paevey. This was one of the reasons why I speculated that One Winter Wedding could either be a “June Weddings” or Christmas movie. In Hotline to Hallmark’s tweet, it mentioned that Taylor herself confirmed that the third One Winter movie was still happening! This tweet says “that the script for Hallmark’s “One Winter Wedding” is being worked on”. As for the Valentine’s Day movie, it now has a working title called “Matching Hearts”. Two other cast members have been announced as well. They are Antonio Cayonne and Latonya Williams.

You can visit the Twitter account of Hotline to Hallmark and Brennan Elliott by typing @HotlineHallmark and @brennan_elliott into Twitter’s search bar.

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Cupcake with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/delicious-cupcakes-illustrations_779154.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Two other Hallmark movies have been announced outside of the Hotline to Hallmark twitter account. In an article from International Business Times, several Hallmark stars were interviewed during Christmas Con, a Christmas themed convention that took place in early November. The majority of questions that were asked were about future movie projects. While the answers consisted of wishful thinking and vagueness, only one was definitive. When asked about Hallmark’s Wedding March series, Jack Wagner, one of the stars of that series, said “We will be doing “Wedding March 6” in the spring”. This means that another Wedding March chapter will likely be seen in 2020’s “June Weddings” line-up! On the website, Creative B.C. another movie from the Mystery 101 series has been listed on the “In Production” page. Currently, the film is called Mystery 101: Educated Murders. The “In Production” page reveals that the movie will go into production from January 6th to the 31st. Based on this fact, I’m guessing that the film will premiere in either spring or summer of 2020.

The article from International Business Times: https://www.ibtimes.com/christmas-con-2019-recap-biggest-news-hallmark-lifetime-stars-revealed-during-panels-2879266

The link to Creative B.C.’s “In Production” page: https://www.creativebc.com/crbc-services/provincial-film-commission-services/in-production/films.php?type=tv_movie (after January 31st, Mystery 101: Educated Murders will be removed from the page)

Female detective with magnifying glass
Female detective image created by Brgfx at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/female-detective-with-magnifying-glass_1250814.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Brgfx – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are thoughts on these upcoming films? Which one sounds the most interesting to you? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Toxic Valentine: Why Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is very problematic in Queen of the Damned (2002)

This editorial was written before Valentine’s Day.

 

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day when the general theme of love is celebrated. The colors of red and pink are a signature staple whenever February 14th comes around. Hearts are the official shape of the holiday, sometimes filled with candy. This special day is usually known as a happy occasion, a time we can set aside to show the people around us how much we truly care about them. Movie fans sometimes take part in Valentine’s Day festivities by talking about their favorite cinematic couples, sharing their opinions on why they think these relationships are romantic and using a selection of movie quotes and scenes to prove their point. However, we movie fans know that not every cinematic relationship is a healthy one. Some of them are down-right toxic. In this editorial, I will be talking about a cinematic relationship that I, personally, feel is very problematic. By looking at the title, you might already know which on-screen couple I will be talking about. Last October, when I reviewed Queen of the Damned, I mentioned that, to me, Lestat and Akasha’s relationship was one of the most problematic relationships I’ve ever seen in a movie. However, I was only able to briefly explain why I feel this way. Because of my involvement in the Ultimate 2000s blogathon, I now have a chance to explain, in detail, why this particular cinematic relationship is not a healthy one. Before I begin this editorial, I would just like to say that I am only creating this post out of pure honesty and based on my opinion. I am in no way creating this post to be mean-spirited or be negative toward anyone’s cinematic preferences/opinions. In this editorial, I will specifically be referencing the characters and story from the Queen of the Damned film. I will be bringing up specific scenes and quotes in order to prove my point. Now, let’s talk about why Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is problematic by looking at five key areas: lack of consent, lack of communication, a power imbalance, intentional harm toward a significant other, and a not-so-loving significant other.

ultimate 2000s blogathon banner
Ultimate 2000s Blogathon poster created by Kim from Tranquil Dreams and Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews. Image found at https://drewreviewmovies.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/announcing-the-ultimate-2000s-blogathon/ and https://klling.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/announcement-ultimate-2000s-blogathon-sign-up-now/.

Lack of Consent

One of the most important components to any romantic relationship is consent. Asking someone’s permission and making sure that both members of a relationship are comfortable before putting themselves and each other in any situation is usually seen as a sign of how much the other person cares for the one they love. Unfortunately, Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is lacking in this department. In my Queen of the Damned review, I mentioned that Akasha is the one who controlled the relationship, using the analogy of Akasha driving a car and Lestat being stuck in the passenger seat. This is not only true, but it’s also important to keep this truth in mind when discussing these five key areas of Lestat and Akasha’s problematic relationship. The first instance of Akasha not asking for Lestat’s consent happens at his concert. During a performance at his concert, a group of vampires climb up on stage and try to hurt Lestat. Marius tries to fight off these vampires in order to protect Lestat, but eventually he and Lestat are surrounded by even more vampires. While Akasha shows up, in the middle of the concert, and defeats these vampires, she ends up taking advantage of the situation. Akasha crashes through the stage (as if the concert were her own, making a showstopping entrance in the process), takes Lestat against his will, and leaves. We, the audience, never see her ask Lestat if he wants to go anywhere with her or if he even wants to leave his concert. In fact, we never see Akasha make an effort to contact Lestat and make plans with him ahead of time. While Akasha took away Lestat’s chance to choose whether or not he wanted to leave, this is not the last time Akasha refused to ask for his consent.

 

After Akasha and Lestat leave his concert, they arrive at her house. During their conversation, Akasha briefly mentions her deceased husband. When Lestat asks Akasha about her late husband’s whereabouts, she tells him, “He’s no more. Now you are my consort”. Here, Akasha is not only forcing Lestat to be her new husband, but also forcing Lestat into a marriage that he has very little interest in being a part of. Once again, Akasha chose not to ask Lestat if he was ok with being in a relationship with her or if he wanted to be married to her at all. She refuses to give him a choice or a chance to voice his concerns. After this conversation, Lestat and Akasha have an intimate moment with each other in a tub filled with water and red rose petals. We, the audience, don’t see Akasha asking Lestat if he’s comfortable with the situation or if he even wants to be in the situation. During this scene, it appears, at times, that Lestat is comfortable sharing this intimate moment with Akasha. However, there are a few times when Lestat appears as if he’s slipping out of consciousness. While body language can be helpful in figuring out what someone wants or needs, body language only tells a part of the story. It seems as if Akasha only relied on a select portion of Lestat’s body language in order to receive the message she wanted to hear. Whenever Lestat appears to be slipping out of consciousness, Akasha never addresses Lestat’s reaction or asks him if anything is wrong. She just acts like nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

Lestat slipping out of consciousness
If you focus on Lestat’s eye in the picture (highlighted by the blue arrow), it appears that it is very close to closing. His eye also shows that Lestat is not focusing on the situation that he is a part of. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Lack of Communication

A necessary component that is interwoven with consent is communication. In a romantic relationship, words are needed to share feelings, address concerns, and build/strengthen a bond. As I mentioned before, Akasha is the one controlling her relationship with Lestat. Therefore, she is controlling their conversation. During their first conversation at her house, Akasha is talking at Lestat and not to him, leaving very little room for Lestat to contribute to their conversation. In fact, half of this conversation is about Akasha. For example, when she tells Lestat about things she has observed about him, she says “You live your life in the open, like I did”. After she tells Lestat that he is now her husband, Akasha tells him “That’s why I kept you safe. Alive”. It seems like Akasha always finds a way to insert herself into the conversation. She doesn’t want to bother with Lestat’s perspective on anything. It is clear that Akasha is not interested in participating in an equally balanced conversation between her and Lestat.

 

It’s also important to observe how Akasha talks about Lestat. She mostly refers to him as “my love” or “my king”. However, she only addresses Lestat by his name on less than three occasions. Based on this observation, it appears that Akasha wants to highlight her connection to Lestat, almost as if she holds a sort of ownership over him. During the film’s climax, when Lestat is drinking some of her blood, Akasha tells the other vampires in her presence “You see how he obeys me”. In that sentence alone, Akasha not only refuses to address Lestat by his name, but it also seems like Akasha does not see Lestat as an equal sigfinicant other to her, but instead something she feels she can control.

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

A Power Imbalance

In a healthy relationship, both members should be equal to one another. Any type of power should be shared amongst each other and a balanced amount of control should be given to each member of that relationship. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Lestat and Akasha’s relationship. Because Akasha is a queen and one of the first vampires ever created, according to Queen of the Damned, Akasha feels she has the right to do, say, act, and treat others whatever and however she wants. This is why Akasha is the one controlling her relationship with Lestat, because she feels she is the most important and powerful vampire in that particular cinematic world. In the morning, after Akasha takes Lestat to her house, she tells him “This is but a taste of what we shall share, my love. My king. Behold our kingdom”. However, Akasha purposefully leaves him out of the process of building their “kingdom”. Lestat wakes up all alone and, later, finds several dead mortals at the pool and on the beach. He has no idea where Akasha is until she shows up minutes later. During this conversation, Lestat appears to be unhappy with what Akasha is telling him, even looking disgusted when Akasha talks about the dead mortals on her property. In their relationship, Lestat and Akasha never make any decisions together, don’t discuss any matters of importance, or comtemplate Lestat’s new “title”. It honestly feels as if Lestat and Akasha aren’t on the same page, let alone the same book.

 

Because of Akasha’s title and her amount of control in their relationship, it appears to be negatively affecting Lestat as a person. Earlier in the film, Lestat is interacting with two female fans. When one of the fans tries to physically take adventage of him, Lestat pushes her hands away and tells her “Don’t do that”. Since there was no power imbalance present in this interaction, Lestat appeared comfortable addressing this fan’s error in not asking for his consent. In his relationship with Akasha, Lestat says very little to her. In the two conversations they had at her house, Lestat only asks short questions. At Marahet’s house, during the film’s climax, Lestat mostly stays silent, more often than not speaking when someone is addressing him. During their intimate moment in the rose petal filled tub, Lestat doesn’t say a word to Akasha, even when she bites his chest. Based on his reaction, it seems like Lestat was negatively affected by her actions. But he doesn’t speak up about these actions to Akasha. It’s hard to tell if he is remaining quiet out of fear or to play along with Akasha’s plan in order to defeat her. Throughout their relationship, the audience doesn’t receive any voice-overs from Lestat like in previous scenes within this film.

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In this photo, Lestat is clearly not pleased with what Akasha has said and done regarding the dead mortals on her property. Unfortunately, Akasha doesn’t seem to want to address Lestat’s feelings about the situation. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Intentional Harm toward a Significant Other

When we think of a typical, healthy relationship, we think of significant others who treat each other with kindness and respect. Images of loving actions, such as hugging and snuggling on the couch, sometimes come to mind. In Lestat and Akasha’s relationship, we never see them perform loving actions toward each other, such as hugging. Even though they have an intimate moment on two separate occasions, both of them involving a lot of kissing, that is the closest thing to a loving action we see throughout their relationship. During Lestat and Akasha’s intimate moment in the rose petal filled tub, Akasha decides to bite Lestat’s chest. This causes him to flinch in pain and have a bloody wound on his chest. Akasha, however, does not seem to care that she has physically hurt her “husband”. Instead, she continues to kiss Lestat as if nothing ever happened. Lestat also never mentions this incident to Akasha or anyone else. The next day, at Maharet’s house, Lestat drinks some of Akasha’s blood. When Akasha is trying to make Lestat stop, she physically pushes him to the point of, practically, throwing him. This causes Lestat to fall on cement stairs. Fortunately, Lestat does not appear to receive any injuries from this incident. As for Lestat, the only thing closest to a harmful action toward Akasha happens on two occasions; a) When Lestat is drinking her blood, but in this situation, he is pretending not to stop in order to provide a distraction so the other vampires can have a chance to defeat Akasha and b) When Lestat drinks Akasha’s blood again, but this time, to protect himself and the others at Maharet’s house from Akasha’s dangerous and villainous ways.

Lestat's wound
If you look inside the blue circle in the picture, Akasha’s act of biting Lestat’s chest caused him to be wounded. Even though it’s a little difficult to see, you can still tell that Lestat’s wound looks like it needs some sort of medical care. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
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As you can see in the photo, those stairs look like they are made of rough cement. Though Lestat didn’t receive any injuries from falling on these stairs, he could have gotten painful scrapes and bruises. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

A not-so-loving significant other

For any romantic relationship, there needs to be a significant amount of love between those two people. A true love where both individuals love that person for who they are as well each other’s characters is an important ingredient. In Lestat and Akasha’s relationship, however, it never feels like they truly love each other. Because Lestat was forced into the relationship by Akasha, it doesn’t seem like he is invested in the relationship. Meanwhile, Akasha claims to love Lestat, but her reasons for loving him make one wonder if her intentions are self-centered. Earlier in Queen in the Damned, Akasha visits a vampire bar. When she arrives, she sees Lestat on television. When a patron at the bar asks if she likes Lestat, Akasha replies by saying “He reminds me of someone”. Days later, when Akasha forcibly takes Lestat to her house, she tells Lestat “Now you are my consort. That’s why I kept you safe. Alive”. As Lestat asks her if she really did save him at his concert, Akasha asks him “You thought it was all you” and then says “The ego of a king as well”. Based on what Akasha has said, it seems like she loves Lestat because he reminds her of her deceased husband. Though she never directly tells Lestat or anybody this, it is left to be assumed by the audience.

 

During their relationship, Akasha doesn’t really make an effort to get to know Lestat. In fact, she assumes she knows enough about him in order for their relationship to work. In their first conversation at her house, she tells him “all your wishes are come true”. When Lestat asks Akasha to specify what wishes she’s referring to, she tells him “For a companion. To share eternity”. Prior to this interaction, Lestat never mentioned anything about wanting or needing a companion. In fact, when Marius visits Lestat in Los Angeles, he tells Marius “I only have myself. You taught me that”. Also, during Akasha and Lestat’s first conversation at her house, she tells him “You’re bold, like your music” and “I know you, Lestat. I know that you crave to have the world at your feet”. Two things happen because of Akasha’s assumptions. The first thing is Akasha is basing her knowledge of Lestat on the image he’s presented as a musical performer. She’s only listened to a few of his songs, seen him on television once, and interrupted his concert. The musical side of Lestat is only a small part of him, so Akasha does not have as much information about him as she thinks she does. The second thing is Akasha assumes she knows what Lestat wants. Throughout the film, Lestat has said that he wants to walk in the light and not hide in the shadows. But, because Akasha does not take the time to ask Lestat what he wants, she gives him a royal title that he did not want or ask for. In Lestat’s case, he knows enough about Akasha to know what kind of a person she is. All of his knowledge of her comes from Marius, after Lestat stumbled across Akasha’s statue-esque being in Marius’ house. While in Los Angeles, Marius shares with Lestat that not only has his music woken Akasha up, but that she also killed her husband and took his blood and powers.

 

As I’ve said before, Akasha is the one controlling this relationship. This causes her to feel like she can do and say whatever her vampire heart desires. Despite the fact that she is the film’s villain, she doesn’t seem to have any trace of kindness or empathy toward others. At Maharet’s house, during the film’s climax, Akasha asks Lestat if he loves her. When Lestat says “Yes”, Akasha says “Then prove it” and orders him to kill Jesse, a woman that Lestat not only knows quite well, but also would rather be in a romantic relationship with. If two people love each other, they do not need to prove anything to the other person. Their actions and choices should speak for themselves. By Akasha forcing Lestat to prove his “love” for her by hurting someone else shows that Akasha doesn’t really think that highly of Lestat or anybody that he personally knows. If their relationship was healthy, Lestat’s love for his significant other would be enough proof that he cares about that person. It seems no matter what Lestat does or says, it will never be good enough for Akasha.

Lestat looking sad
If you look at Lestat’s eye (highlighted by the blue arrow), you can see that he looks sad about being forced to hurt Jesse. It also seems like he is sad about the way he is treated by Akasha. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

While Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is very problematic, it fortunately does not last long. Lestat and the other vampires at Maheret’s house are able to successfully defeat Akasha. This allows Lestat to escape this toxic relationship and enter a healthy, romantic relationship with Jesse. When I’ve read reviews for Queen of the Damned, no one had brought up Lestat and Akasha’s horrible, but short-lived relationship. It also doesn’t help that this film’s marketing campaign paints their relationship in a very different light. On the film’s poster, Lestat and Akasha are the only two people featured in the image. In the trailer, not only are Lestat and Akasha the only two characters who are prominently featured, but the movie’s footage and the voice-overs are set up in a way that makes it seem like Lestat chose to be in a relationship with Akasha and had contemplated turning to the dark side. As my editorial and the film itself shows, this is far from the truth. Even though movie fans would, probably, rather talk about the cinematic relationships worth rooting for, it’s important to take the time to talk about the not-so-healthy relationships in film. When observing these choices and behaviors, we movie fans and people in general can learn how not to treat others as well as leading a better example in our own real-life relationships, whether or not they’re romantic. It will not only make for a better Valentine’s Day, but also for better and many years to come.

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Story of Us Review

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! It seems like it has become a tradition for me to review a Hallmark movie on February 14th. Last year, I reviewed an appropriately themed film called My Secret Valentine. This film was also the first movie that I ever reviewed on 18 Cinema Lane! This year, I have decided to review another Valentine’s Day themed Hallmark movie called The Story of Us. While I thought the film’s basic premise sounded like other Hallmark movies I’ve seen before, I was looking forward to seeing Sam Page and Maggie Lawson’s performance in the film. So, even though I watched this film with low expectations, I still hoped that this movie was good. Was this movie as good as I had hoped? Keep reading if you want to see if my review of The Story of Us has a happy ending!

The Story of Us poster
The Story of Us 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=&ShowTitle=The+Story+of+Us.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: The cast in The Story of Us was very strong! I think that everyone in this movie did a good job portraying their characters! Even though I wasn’t a fan of My Favorite Wedding and Christmas Encore, I did enjoy Maggie Lawson’s performance in both of those movies. In The Story of Us, Maggie’s portrayal of Jamie was very believable, providing the right amount of natural reactions and expressions! Sam Page is another actor whose performances I’ve enjoyed in several Hallmark movies. His portrayal of Sawyer was great, giving his performance enough charm and talent to bring a sense of likability to his character! All of the performances in the supporting cast were very good as well! I really enjoyed Marco Grazzini and Zibby Allen’s performances as Rick and Lucy! Both of these characters came across as sweet and genuine. I hope that Marco and Zibby can appear in more Hallmark movies in the future.

 

  • The on-screen chemistry: Like I mentioned earlier, Maggie and Sam both gave a great performance individually. They also gave a great performance as a pair! Their interactions were fun to watch and their delivery of witty dialogue added to their on-screen presence. I also thought that Marco and Zibby had good on-screen chemistry! Seeing Rick and Lucy’s relationship develop over the course of the film was something that I liked seeing. Their interactions were so sweet and adorable, helping their on-screen relationship appear as genuine as possible.

 

  • The humor: Hallmark Channel movies are known for incorporating humor into their films. The Story of Us was no different, with several funny moments that were found throughout the movie. One of the funniest scenes in this project was when Sam’s character, Sawyer, accidently took too much of an important ingredient while he was having a disagreement with Jamie at a cooking class. This error that Sawyer made was hilarious because of how relatable the moment was. Having humorous moments that make audiences laugh with the characters and not at them is what makes The Story of Us so memorable.
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Valentine’s Day themed items created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • Too many plots: In The Story of Us, there were six plots simultaneously going on throughout this movie. Because of this, some plots were given more focus than others. An example of this is how the Fire and Ice Festival was not talked about as much as Jamie’s efforts to save her bookstore. Personally, I think that The Story of Us should have had, at least, one main plot and two subplots. This way, all of the plots could have balanced out each other and had an equal amount of focus.

 

  • Limited amount of focus on the Fire and Ice Festival: Within The Story of Us, there was a Valentine’s Day themed festival called the Fire and Ice Festival. When this event was shown on-screen, I thought it looked like so much fun! Unfortunately, this festival was presented in the film for only a few minutes. It also wasn’t a part of the film’s main plot, causing the festival to feel like an after-thought. If Jamie used the Fire and Ice Festival to save her bookstore, this would have been a good way to incorporate both ideas into the film’s overall narrative.

 

  • The protagonist’s-ex-unexpectedly-comes-back-into-the-protagonist’s-life cliché: A cliché that I have found in several Hallmark movies is the protagonist’s-ex-unexpectedly-comes-back-into-the-protagonist’s-life cliché. This cliché was present in The Story of Us, when Jamie’s ex, a dentist who moved away to Texas, came back into Jamie’s life after hearing about her efforts to save her bookstore. To me, this part of the story felt unnecessary, like it was added to the overall narrative just for the sake of it. Within the movie as a whole, this part of the story didn’t seem to go anywhere. If this cliché were cut from the film, it wouldn’t have made an impact in the overall project.
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Pink themed image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I really liked The Story of Us! While this movie had its flaws, there were things about this movie that I enjoyed. To me, this movie was much better than My Favorite Wedding and Christmas Encore. The narrative of The Story of Us was not only a better written story, but the movie’s overall tone fit the style of a typical Hallmark Channel movie. So far, the “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” lineup has been good. The only other Valentine’s Day themed movie I’ve seen (and reviewed) is Valentine in the Vineyard. I’m really looking forward to Love, Romance & Chocolate because the story sounds very creative and takes place in Belgium (which I believe is the first time Hallmark has ever filmed there)! Hopefully, that movie can be just as good as The Story of Us.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts about this year’s “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up? Which Valentine’s Day themed movie is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Valentine in the Vineyard Review

Even though Valentine’s Day is next Thursday, Hallmark has wasted no time in starting their line-up of Valentine’s Day themed movies, “Countdown to Valentine’s Day”. Starting this line-up is the anticipated third installment, Valentine in the Vineyard! Last month, in a Word on the Street story, I not only announced that this movie would be Hallmark’s first Valentine’s Day themed movie of 2019, but I also said that Crown Media Family Networks released the film’s synopsis on their website. I was looking forward to see Valentine in the Vineyard, especially since I’ve seen and enjoyed the first two movies in this particular series; Autumn in the Vineyard and Summer in the Vineyard. However, I was concerned about how the possible “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché would be incorporated into the film’s narrative. But I still chose to watch this film because I wanted to know what happens in this series’ next chapter. Thanks for joining me for this review, as I’m about to talk about Valentine in the Vineyard!

Valentine in the Vineyard poster
Valentine in the Vineyard 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=&ShowTitle=Valentine%20in%20the%20Vineyard&IsSeries=False.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: I really liked the cast of Valentine in the Vineyard! What helped was having the main cast members from the first two films return for the third installment. Once again, Brendan Penny and Rachael Leigh Cook did a great job portraying Nate and Frankie! Both of their performances appeared very natural, as if they were reacting to real-life situations. This made it easier for me to stay invested in what was happening in Nate and Frankie’s lives. I also liked the performances of the supporting cast! As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I have seen Teryl Rothery is several Hallmark productions. Therefore, I knew how talented of an actress she is. Her portrayal as Frankie’s aunt was such a pleasant surprise, her character’s sweet and sassy personality was a joy to watch on-screen and it was hilarious! Stephanie Bennett’s portrayal of Shay Michaels was also a pleasant surprise, with her performance being so good that it made her character very likable!

 

  • The on-screen chemistry: Like in the first two movies, Brendan Penny and Rachael Leigh Cook had really good on-screen chemistry! Because of this, it made it look like Nate and Frankie’s relationship has truly been growing over the course of the series. I also liked how the other on-screen couples had good on-screen chemistry. Marco and Lexi appeared as if they truly got along because Marcus Rosner and Tegan Moss did that good of a job with their acting performances! Seeing Gabe and Shay’s relationship evolve over the course of the film was nice to see! This is not only because of Stephanie Bennett and Madison Smith’s performances, but also because the audience got a chance to learn more about these characters.

 

  • A unique perspective on Valentine’s Day: Hallmark usually does a good job at incorporating Valentine’s Day into their films. While Valentine in the Vineyard has no shortage of decorations and a festive color palette, this movie looks at Valentine’s Day from a unique perspective. The story put a lot of focus on what exactly makes a relationship romantic. A great example of this are the gifts that Frankie and Nate plan on exchanging for Valentine’s Day. These gifts not only help them better understand their significant other, but the gifts also help them improve their own lives. I have never really seen Hallmark explore the building blocks of a specific couples’ relationship. But because this is the third movie in a series, I think this creative choice worked well for Valentine in the Vineyard.
Vineyard in France
Vineyard on a sunny day image created by Jcstudio at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/green”>Green photo created by jcstudio – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A slower pace: While watching this movie, I noticed that the pace was slower than in the first two films. This caused the film is feel a little drawn out.

 

  • Too much going on at once: In Valentine in the Vineyard, there were five plots within this story. Because of this, I honestly felt a little overwhelmed by what was going on in the film. It seemed like there was too much going on in the movie, as if the creative team behind the project tried to accomplish too much at once. This aspect of the film affected my overall movie-viewing experience.

 

  • Limited amount of humor: I found this movie to be not as funny as the previous installments. While there was humor to be found, there wasn’t as much of it as I was expecting. An example of this is any scenes involving the vineyard’s llama. In the first two movies, the llama provided some of the film’s comic relief. In Valentine in the Vineyard, however, the llama just seems like an after-thought.
Sale, Happy Valentine Day lettering with bunch of balloons
Heart shaped balloons image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Valentine in the Vineyard was a decent movie. However, this film was not as strong as the first two films. My biggest issue with the movie was how much material was packed into this story. This not only affected my experience of watching this film, it made me feel just as overwhelmed as the situations made the characters feel. But it was nice to see Nate and Frankie’s relationship progress through-out this movie as well as this series. Everything about their relationship is so sweet and genuine, which helps make these characters so likable. I don’t know if Hallmark is planning to continue this series, but I hope a fourth movie is made and called “Christmas in the Vineyard”. If you think about it, we’ve never received a Hallmark Christmas movie that takes place in a vineyard. It would be something new for the network to incorporate into one of their stories.

 

Overall score: 7.1 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Hallmark’s “Vineyard” movies? Would you like to see Hallmark create “Christmas in the Vineyard? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Hallmark premieres new series, “Chronicle Mysteries” in February; “Valentine in the Vineyard” to lead “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up

As Hallmark Channel’s “Winterfest” line-up continues to play a huge role in January, there is much to look forward to next month. “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” will soon come around the corner, entertaining Hallmark fans throughout February. I’m really looking forward to this year’s line-up, especially since one of my favorite movies last year was Cooking with Love! One part of 2019’s “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up that is exciting is the premiere of Valentine in the Vineyard! In a Word on the Street post last November, I mentioned that a movie titled “Wedding In The Vineyard” would likely be a continuation of the “In the Vineyard” series starring Rachel Leigh Cook and Brendan Penny. It looks like my prediction was right, as this will be the third movie in this particular series. While the premiere date on Hallmark Channel’s website says February 7th, the release date on Crown Media Family Networks’ website is listed as February 2nd. At this time, there has not been a trailer or “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” announcement that officially confirmed either of these dates. However, Crown Media Family Networks has released an official synopsis for Valentine in the Vineyard on the home-page of their website! While the story itself sounds creative, I’m concerned that the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché will, somehow, be incorporated into the narrative. If this cliché is woven into the film in a similar way as Wedding of Dreams, then I would be fine with that.

If you want to check out the sources related to this Word on the Street story, here are the associated links:

https://www.crownmediapress.com/PressReleaseList/?SiteID=142&NodeID=144 (the synopsis and proposed release date for Valentine in the Vineyard is within the article titled “Valentine in the Vineyard – 01/09/19”)

http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/wedding-in-the-vineyard

Valentine Card
Valentine’s Day image created by Sergey_kandakov at freepik.com <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Sergey_kandakov – Freepik.com</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/valentine-background-design_1389799.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

Recently, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries released an official trailer for their new mystery movie, Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, on their website! This first movie will premiere on February 17th, while its sequel, Chronicle Mysteries: The Wrong Man, will premiere on February 24th. During the trailer for Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, it was mentioned that this will be “a groundbreaking new mystery movie series”. However, after reading the synopsis for both Chronicle Mysteries films and after watching the trailer for Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered, I’m having difficulty understanding how this series is supposed to be “groundbreaking”. To me, this series looks, sounds, and feels like it is following a formula that has been set in motion by other mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. This formula includes:

  • A single, female protagonist with a good career
  • A murder mystery story-line
  • The crime taking place in a small town or in the same neighborhood as the protagonist
  • The murder victim being someone that the protagonist personally knows or someone that the protagonist is familiar with, giving the protagonist motivation to solve the mystery
  • A single, male protagonist who also has a good career
  • The male and female protagonist working together on almost every single mystery
  • The male and female protagonist ending up in a romantic relationship over the course of the series

Because I haven’t seen any of these Chronicle Mysteries films yet, I have no idea if this series will truly be as “groundbreaking” as it claims to be. Unless the story is vastly different from the other mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, such as Signed, Sealed, Delivered, then I’m guessing it will probably share a lot of similarities with the series that have already been established on the network. However, I do plan on watching this series when it premieres because, so far, I have enjoyed the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. It seems like February will not only be a good month for Hallmark Channel, but Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well.

If you want to check out the official pages for the Chronicle Mysteries series or the official trailer, here are the links:

http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/chronicle-mysteries-recovered/videos/preview-chronicle-mysteries-recovered

https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Chronicle+Mysteries+Recovered

https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Chronicle+Mysteries+The+Wrong+Man

chronicle mysteries recovered poster
Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered 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=Chronicle+Mysteries+Recovered.

Are you looking forward to the Hallmark films premiering in February? Which movie are you anticipating the most? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Very, Very, Valentine Review

As we anticipate the arrival of March (as well as spring), I thought that watching Very, Very, Valentine would be a good finale to the month of February. Just as I was about to watch this movie, I realized that I would have watched and reviewed all of the “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” films! If I get the chance to watch all of the movies in a Hallmark movie line-up, I feel like I have the confidence to express my opinions on the overall line-up. Now, before March does arrive, let me review Very, Very, Valentine!

Very, Very, Valentine poster
Very, Very, Valentine 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=Very,%20Very,%20Valentine&IsSeries=False

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: This movie did have a good cast. However, both Danica and Cameron were the stand-out performers! Danica and Cameron’s performances were so good, they were one of the highlights of this movie! In the scene where Helen was calling Henry from the wedding, I felt it was Danica’s best performance throughout the film! Cameron also gave a good performance as well, even providing the right amount of comic relief. It seems like just yesterday when Danica and Cameron were brand new members of the Hallmark community. Within that short amount of time, both of them have become two of some of the most recognizable stars on Hallmark Channel!

 

  • The on-screen chemistry: Danica and Cameron’s on-screen chemistry came across as very believable! The friendship that both Danica and Cameron portrayed on-screen seemed genuine. Both of their talents truly complemented one another, especially when they were delivering their lines of well-written banter. For their first time starring in a Hallmark movie together, Danica and Cameron did a good job as individual actors and a pair!

 

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The pace: Very, Very, Valentine had a good start, but after the mystery was solved, the pace of the movie quickly started to slow down. From that moment on, the story just dragged.

 

  • Valentine’s Day as, simply, a backdrop: Out of all the “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” movies, the presence of Valentine’s Day in Very, Very, Valentine felt like a glorified extra. While the holiday was referenced in the story, it only seemed to be casually brought up. Also, it felt like the decorations were there just for the sake of it. If the basic story of this movie were featured in any other Hallmark movie line-up, it wouldn’t make any difference.

 

My overall impression:

Very, Very, Valentine was ok, but it was definitely the weakest movie in the “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up. There were times when a good story was trying to break through, but something was always holding it back. Despite this, Danica and Cameron still found a way to stand out for all the right reasons! They both used the best of their acting abilities to give the best performance they could. I hope Danica and Cameron can star in another Hallmark movie together, but with a stronger story next time.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Did you see Very, Very, Valentine? Have you seen all of the “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” films? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen