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 select 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 with her 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 in her or if he wanted to be married to her at all. Instead, 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.

exploding heart 0912
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, if 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.

20190219_183146
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.
20190219_190142
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

Advertisements

A Reminder about the Gold Sally Awards: Voting for Round 1 ends on February 22nd

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let my readers, followers, and guests know that voting for the Best Movie from Hallmark Channel and Best Movie from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries end on February 22nd. This means that there are only four days left to vote on this first round of polls. On February 23rd, round two will begin! Happy voting!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Take 3: Kim Possible (2019) Review

The time has finally come for me to review a film that has gotten a lot of attention on 18 Cinema Lane, the new live-action Kim Possible film! If you’ve been following my blog since last year, you would know that I’ve been talking about this movie since the very beginning. In fact, the first announcement about this Kim Possible movie was the first Word on the Street story I ever wrote. As the months went by, I’ve discussed other news relating to this film, such as casting announcements and production updates. When the trailer for Kim Possible was released last December, I definitely took the time to talk about how I felt about it. To me, the trailer was fine, at best. I’ve also shared that I was very skeptical about the project. As I mentioned in my very first Word on the Street story about Kim Possible, I have enjoyed watching the original show. However, I was concerned about a newer audience receiving more attention from this film’s creative team to the point of alienating the audience of the original show. Even though I had very low expectations for this film, I still watched it with an open mind, with the hope that it could be good. After one whole year of introducing this movie news story to my readers, it’s time to talk about 2019’s Kim Possible!

Kim Possible 2019 poster
Kim Possible (2019) poster the Walt Disney Company and Disney Channel. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Disney XD© Disney Enterprises, Inc. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kim_Possible_(2019_film)_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: While watching this movie, I was really impressed with the acting! Every actor in this cast seemed to disappear into their roles, effectively bringing characters that I have come to know and recognize to life. Sadie Stanley shined in her performance as the beloved secret agent, Kim Possible. Whether it was an intense action sequence or an emotionally heart-felt moment, Sadie successfully brought the versatility that helped her embody this character on-screen. As I’ve mentioned before, Shego is my favorite Disney villain of all time. Seeing Taylor Ortega’s portrayal of this memorable character made me so happy! She captured Shego’s snarky attitude and strength that I best remember from my days of watching Kim Possible on television. The acting in this film was definitely a highlight!

 

  • Looking and feeling like the show: Throughout this film, I noticed how close almost everything looked to the show. From the Possible family home to the high school’s official sign, there were a number of things in this movie that looked like they were copied directly from the series. Because of this level of detail, it made the movie feel like the show. Since I am fond of the original series, I liked this aspect of the film. It made it seem like the creative team behind this movie truly cared about the project they were creating. Things like this made me enjoy the film that much more!

 

  • The humor: The Kim Possible television show was known for having humor woven into each episode. In this movie, there was humor that was effectively incorporated into the story. One example of this is the high school’s official sign. In the show, this sign would display funny sayings and puns. The sign in this movie not only had those funny sayings and puns like in the show, but the words on that sign correlated with the events in the story. The overall humor in this movie matched the tone of the show. Not only that, but I thought this film’s humor was genuinely funny.

 

  • The messages and themes: Another thing that the Kim Possible show was known for was including messages and themes into the story of each episode. This movie also had messages and themes that were related to the overall narrative. Friendship, jealousy, and not being afraid to ask for help when it’s necessary are some themes that stood out to me in this story. The messages of the importance of being a good friend and the difference between who you are and the things you do are messages that felt relatable. These messages and themes made me feel good about what I was watching.
Shego and Drakken pin
When talking about this Kim Possible movie, of course I was going to put a picture of this pin within this review! Apparently, this was the only Shego related Disney pin that was ever created. Screenshot created by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The inconsistency of the special effects: When I first talked about the Kim Possible trailer, one of the things that stood out to me was how the special effects looked. At worst, the special effects in the trailer were distracting. Throughout the film, the special effects were 50/50. There were some times when the special effects looked good, such as when Shego uses her green blasting powers from her hands. But there were other times when the special effects looked less-than-stellar. This mostly happened whenever an explosion happened during an action scene. When this occurred, it appeared like the actors were moving in front of a screen. Fortunately, these less-than-stellar moments with the special effects were not as distracting as it looked in the trailer.

 

  • Kim Possible as a celebrity: In the show, the only people who seemed to know about Kim Possible being a secret agent were Ron and Wade. Because this part of Kim’s life was secret, it gave audience members the impression that Kim could still be a relatable character no matter how extraordinary her life seemed. In this movie, everyone knew that Kim was a secret agent, even having other characters treat her as if she were a celebrity. This new aspect of the character took away some of her relatability. But the creative team behind this movie still gave Kim enough relatability to her character to keep her as close to the original version as possible.
Vector cartoon illustration of college classroom
Picture of a high school classroom image created by Vectorpocket at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by vectorpocket – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Kim Possible was a better movie than I expected it to be! Despite its flaws, I thought this movie was good! Before this film’s release, my biggest concern was the movie possibly catering to a younger audience to the point of alienating the audience of the original show. However, the creative team behind this film did a good job at introducing new fans to the source material while, at the same time, respecting the fans of the original show. In fact, it felt like the creative team brought back the magic of the original series! As someone who not only watched the show in its original run, but also was very skeptical of the project, I ended up enjoying this movie more than I thought I would! I’m so glad I gave this film a chance!

 

Overall score: 8 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on this review? Would you like to see your favorite animated show adapted into a live action film? Let me know in the comment section!

 

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.
539077-PJKYO5-102
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.
PLOEEI0
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

An Update on the Gold Sally Awards

Hi everyone!

Due to some technical difficulties, I wasn’t able to make the polls for the Best Movie from Hallmark Channel and Best Movie from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries work as well as I had hoped. If you want to participate in the Gold Sally Awards, put your votes in the comment section of the post with the original polls, titled “The First Annual Gold Sally Awards have finally arrived!”. Also, because of the technical difficulties, I have extended the voting period until February 22nd. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The First Annual Gold Sally Awards have finally arrived!

The day has finally come for the start of the Gold Sally Awards! It is also 18 Cinema Lane’s first anniversary! In honor of these two special celebrations, I have posted the first two polls, which recognize ten movies from Hallmark Channel and ten movies from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! For each round of voting, you can vote for as many movies as you want. However, you are only allowed to vote once per person. This round of polls will run from today, February 9th to February 19th. Now, it is time for reveal which movies have been nominated!

18 Cinema Lane logo
In case you’re wondering, this is my new logo for 18 Cinema Lane! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Best Movie from Hallmark Channel

Cooking with Love

Royally Ever After

Wedding of Dreams

Love, of Course

Pearl in Paradise

Christmas Everlasting

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Christmas at Pemberley Manor

A Gingerbread Romance

Christmas Joy

Best Movie from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game

Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder

Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill

Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder

Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery

Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane

Christmas Bells are Ringing

Northern Lights of Christmas

Marrying Father Christmas

Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas

What is the best Hallmark Channel movie of 2018?
Cooking with Love
Royally Ever After
Wedding of Dreams
Love, of Course
Pearl in Paradise
Christmas Everlasting
Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa
Christmas at Pemberley Manor
A Gingerbread Romance
Christmas Joy
Created with PollMaker
What is the best Hallmark Movies & Mysteries from 2018?
Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game
Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder
Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill
Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder
Past Malice: An Emma Fielding Mystery
Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane
Christmas Bells are Ringing
Northern Lights of Christmas
Marrying Father Christmas
Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas
Created with Poll Maker

 

Have fun voting!

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