The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2018

As the sun sets for December, as well as 2018, lots of movie bloggers have participated in creating the lists of movies that they have liked and disliked. What I’ve noticed about these lists is that they’re filled with movies that are newly released films. While I have also decided to partake in making end-of-year movie lists, my lists will be slightly different from the rest. This difference is any movie that I saw within the year of 2018 is fair game. Like I said in my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time post, both of my end-of-year movie lists are not only based on my opinion, but also based on movies that I have personally seen. Before I talk about the list itself, I just wanted to mention that both of my movie lists were not created to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. These lists are simply a way for me to be honest about the films that I liked and disliked within 2018. Now, as the title suggests, this is the list where I will share the Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2018. I’ve been very grateful to have had a really good year in terms of movie-viewing. I’m not going to lie, this list was not easy to create. There were a good amount of films I saw, and sometimes reviewed, this year that I really liked. However, with the nature of any Top 10 list, there are bound to be movies that don’t make the cut. Speaking of which, let’s begin with this short list of 2018’s Honorable Mentions:

 

Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas Everlasting, The Dark Knight, Love, Of Course, Christmas at Pemberley Manor, Darrow & Darrow: In the Key of Murder, Escape to Witch Mountain, Return from Witch Mountain, Shoelaces for Christmas, Flicka: Country Pride, Strangers on a Train, Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill, Pearl in Paradise, The Bad Seed (2018), Christmas on the Coast, Love, Once and Always, and Runaway Romance

new year 2018 text made with particles bursting upwards
2018 in gold dust 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/new-year-2018-text-made-with-particles-bursting-upwards_1472355.htm’>Designed by Starline</a>.  Image found at freepik.com.

Now, the moment has come to start the official list! Let’s start with number 10:

 

10. Wedding of Dreams

Like I mentioned in my review for Wedding of Dreams, I said that, in 2016, I would have debated about why For Love and Honor was more deserving of a sequel than Summer of Dreams. However, Wedding of Dreams was not only a good movie individually, but also a great continuation to this particular story! One of my least favorite clichés that Hallmark has ever incorporated into their films is the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché. While this cliché does appear in Wedding of Dreams, it was written in a way that actually makes sense for that specific story. What also helped this movie is not having this cliché be the primary focus. Instead, it serves as an interconnecting subplot that works together with another subplot. To me, this was the best wedding themed movie that Hallmark released in 2018!

 

9. Avengers: Infinity War

Despite the fact that I wasn’t a fan of this film’s ending and end-credit scene, I still found it to be an enjoyable film. All of the key components of Avengers: Infinity War looked and felt like they are handled with great care. Every detail, from the acting to Thanos himself, were put at the right place and time in order to create an entertaining cinematic experience! Besides the ending and end-credit scene, I was disappointed by the movie being more of a “set-up” film than I had expected. But, as I said in my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Infinity War, I will take Dale Travers’ advice to “trust the timing” as I patiently wait for the arrival of Avengers: Endgame.

 

8. Oliver!

Yes, I know I just reviewed this movie recently. But, when I look back on all the movies that I’ve seen, and reviewed, in 2018, Oliver! just makes me smile. Honestly, this has quickly become one of my favorite movie musicals, with an engaging story and memorable songs. Even as I list these movies one by one, I still think of the song “Consider Yourself”. A great thing about movies is they can have the ability to find a special place in your heart. For me, this is exactly what Oliver! did, finding a special place in my heart in order to be carried and remembered as time goes on. As I mentioned in my review, this movie is one of the reasons why I’m thinking about reading Oliver Twist in 2019!

 

7. Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Out of all the Christmas movies that were released from Hallmark in 2017, Christmas in Evergreen was one of the last movies I would have expected to receive a sequel. However, this sequel pleasantly surprised me by how good of a film it was! What’s so great about Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa is that it adds something new to the story, as well as expand the world of Evergreen. It was nice to see two interesting, on-going mysteries in this film, with one of them leading to one of the best plot-twists in Hallmark movie history! Hallmark has proven that Evergreen is a truly special place, creating a likable environment filled with likable characters. I really hope Hallmark considers continuing the series, as I’m sure more stories can be found within this precious town.

 

6. Cowgirls ‘N Angels

This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find two horse themed movies that I really liked! One of these films was Cowgirls ‘N Angels, a movie that I had heard about, but never seen until 2018. The story within this movie was very sweet and emotional, keeping me invested throughout this cinematic journey. Bailee Madison’s performance was so great, it was actually one of her best acting performances that I’ve ever seen! Even though she was the youngest cast member in Cowgirls ‘N Angels, she still found a way to bring so much versatility and emotion to her character. It makes wish to see Bailee receive a dramatic role in a Hallmark movie. Yes, I know Bailee is an important member of the Good Witch television show. But, it’s been two or three years since we’ve seen Bailee star in a Hallmark movie that wasn’t Good Witch affiliated.

Avengers Infinity War Bucky poster
I think it’s safe to say that my friends, Bucky and Bucky, had a pretty good 2018! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

5. L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew

I have seen all of PBS’s Anne of Green Gables films starring Ella Ballentine, with the first movie being good and the second movie being just decent. However, I thought this third movie was the best one in this trilogy! Something that really impressed me about this story was the messages and themes that were found within the film’s narrative. These messages and themes, such as the importance of education, were not only worth promoting, but were also presented in a way that seemed very realistic. This made me feel good about what I was watching, like that time was well spent. I hope that PBS considers creating more movies for this series, as I would definitely like to see Anne’s story continue. For the most part, this particular Anne of Green Gables series has had a pretty good track record when it comes to quality. PBS has proven that they have what it takes to make entertaining and meaningful films.

 

4. Jurassic Park

I had such a great movie-going experience when I saw Jurassic Park at a Fathom Events screening. One of the reasons why is how great of a movie this was! For me, Jurassic Park has almost everything I could want in a movie, making the movie itself such a memorable masterpiece. I mentioned in my review that I saw Jurassic Park for the first time in 2018. Looking back on this film, I’m glad I chose to review this movie when I received 25 followers on my blog. Otherwise, I might have missed out on a truly spectacular film! I have not yet seen the other films within this series, so I might have to make time to see them in 2019.

 

3. Saving Mr. Banks

This is a film that I’m so glad to have finally seen! I said in my review of Saving Mr. Banks that I have wanted to see this film for a while. When I received five followers on 18 Cinema Lane, I decided to make the time to see this movie. I can only speak for myself, but I think I made a wise choice. There were several great things about this film that helped make it the gem that it is. Similar to what I said about Avengers: Infinity War, everything about Saving Mr. Banks seems like it has handled with such great care. Because of this, my experience with watching this film ended up being a great one!

 

2. Cooking with Love 

This was the first movie to receive a perfect score (10 out of 10) out of all the movies I reviewed in 2018! Even after all these months later, I can still remember how excited I was to share my thoughts about Cooking with Love with all my readers and followers. This movie took something that I love (the Hallmark movie, This Magic Moment) and added even more creativity to it. There were so many great elements in this film, that it truly makes me smile just thinking about the film as a whole. While there were a few things that I didn’t like about the movie, these things were minor and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the movie. I would definitely love to see Cooking with Love receive a sequel, especially since there are enough story elements within this narrative to naturally lend itself well to a second chapter.

 

1. Royally Ever After

While Cooking with Love was the first movie to receive a perfect score on 18 Cinema Lane, it was definitely not the last. Royally Ever After also received a score of 10 out of 10! There is no such thing as a “perfect” Hallmark movie. But, to me, this film was the first Hallmark movie I’ve seen in quite a while to be as close to “perfect” as possible. The best part of Royally Ever After is how the creative team behind this project went out of their way to use as few “Hallmark royal movie” clichés as possible. It felt like Hallmark had taken a concept that had been told so many times and give it a much welcomed “breath of fresh air”. Like Cooking with Love, Royally Ever After has enough story elements to naturally lend itself towards a sequel. Besides, as far as I know, Hallmark has never made a movie that featured a royal wedding. This would be a great way for this movie to, potentially, be the start of a new series!

Royally Ever After poster
Royally Ever After 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=Royally%20Ever%20After&IsSeries=False.

What did you think of my list? What was the best movie you saw in 2018? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in 2019!

 

Sally Silverscreen

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Take 3: Oliver! Review + 50 Follower Thank You

On 18 Cinema Lane, I received a Christmas present early! I finally achieved 50 followers! This means that I now have to review a movie that was released fifty years ago (in 1968). While looking at my options for what movie to talk about, I realized that I haven’t reviewed a musical yet. So, I chose Oliver! for this special blog post. While I have never read Oliver Twist, I did see Oliver & Company in September. In fact, I reviewed that film back when I received 30 followers on 18 Cinema Lane. Because of this, I had a basic idea of what the story was about. How different was Oliver! from Oliver & Company? Check out my review in order to find out!

Oliver poster
Oliver! poster created by Romulus Films and Columbia Pictures. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oliver!_(1968_movie_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: This was a very strong cast! Everyone pulled off a performance that appeared so believable, it made the actors seem like they disappeared into their roles. One of the most versatile actors in this movie was Ron Moody. His portrayal of Fagin was very memorable, bringing those elements of sneakiness and desperation that were essential to that character. I also thought that the child actors were talented as well. While Mark Lester’s portrayal of Oliver was definitely a highlight in this film, I also liked seeing Jack Wild’s performance! Dodger, Jack’s character, was portrayed so well. This is because Jack’s acting performance appeared so natural, making it feel like a child in that particular situation would truly react in that specific way. All of these acting performances added to my level of enjoyment for this movie!

 

The set design: I was really impressed with all of the set designs in this movie! Because this story takes place in 1800s England, the environment within this film is reflective of that time and place. What makes these set designs so great is how immersive they make the audience feel when they see the film. While watching Oliver!, I felt like I was transported to that world, experiencing situations and events alongside Oliver. The authentic look and feel of the film’s environment also helps add a sense of realism to the story.

 

The musical sequences: The musical sequences within this film were, for the most part, really enjoyable! I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of up-beat and catchy songs that were not only entertaining, but also complimented the context of the story. The musical sequence that I enjoyed the most was “Consider Yourself” because the song itself was so great! Some of the visuals in that scene were very creative, such as when, as Dodger and Oliver are walking past a butcher shop, they walk through a doorway which was created by a split piece of meat. It was also interesting to see how the different components of 1800s London came together to showcase the importance that they represented at that time.

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Sketch of London image created by Archjoe at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-houses-of-parliament_1133950.htm’>Designed by Archjoe</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Archjoe – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The heavy dialect: As I have mentioned, the story of Oliver! takes place in 1800s England. This means that all of the characters have a dialect that reflects that time and place. However, because of how heavy the dialect was, I found myself having difficulty, at times, understanding what these characters were saying. While this didn’t make me enjoy the movie any less, I did have to pay extra attention to all of the dialogue in the film.

 

Very few emotional songs: Like I’ve also mentioned, most of the music in Oliver! was up-beat. But, when it comes to emotional songs, there are only two within this movie: “Where Is Love?” and “As Long as He Needs Me”. Because of the limited amount of emotional songs, it kind of undermines some of the seriousness that can be found in the story. While the up-beat nature of the songs is meant to make the movie less dark and dreary, a balance of up-beat and emotional songs would have worked better for the story.

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Hand-written letter image created by Veraholera at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Veraholera – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/love-letter-pattern_1292902.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I can’t believe this is my last movie review of 2018. Where has the time gone? Anyways, back to the review itself. I really enjoyed this film! As a musical and movie, Oliver! was such a delight to watch. Because I had seen Oliver & Company before I saw Oliver!, it made me appreciate the story as well as the original source material. Like I mentioned in my introduction, I have never read Oliver Twist. But, both of these films have encouraged me to want to read the book! Maybe I will read it in 2019. Speaking of the New Year, I’ve had a pretty good year when it comes to movie blogging. You, my readers and followers, are one of the reasons why 2018 has been great for 18 Cinema Lane. Thank you all so much for making this year such a memorable one for my blog. Here’s hoping 2019 brings more greatness for movie blogging!

 

Overall score: 8.6 out of 10

 

What are you looking forward to in 2019? Which movie review from 18 Cinema Lane has been your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

I completed my Small Challenge for The Blog Complainer’s Appreciation Award!

Last month, I received The Blog Complainer’s Appreciation Award! In order to officially accept the award, one of the requirements is to complete a small challenge. In my post where I talked about this award, I chose to read two books for the Cosyathon readathon. While I didn’t complete these books within the readathon’s time-frame, I still chose to read them because a.) I wanted to read these books and b.) I promised my readers and followers that I would read these books. While thinking about the challenges from Cosyathon, I realized that my two choice books actually counted for four of the readathon’s challenges! As you can see in the picture, these books are The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight and That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton by Sarah Ellis.

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These are the two books that had the honor of being read for the special small challenge! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
The first book I read was The Christmas Child. I was interested in reading this book because, to me, it sounded like a Hallmark movie I would probably watch. This book fulfilled the challenges of “read a Christmas themed book” and “read a book that’s set during Winter”. Not only does this story take place within the month of December, but it also takes place around Christmas-time. The Christmas Child is about a teacher and police officer who find a young child in their town. The young child, Davey, is non-verbal, with no known family to be found. Kade, the police officer, and Sophie, the teacher, have to solve the mystery of Davey and his history. I really loved this book! It felt like I was reading a Hallmark movie, particularly from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries or Hallmark Hall of Fame. While this story had its emotional moments, it was also sweet and heart-warming. The only flaw I could find within this book was how both Sophie and Kade’s point of view were included in each chapter, making these chapters feel a little bit too long. Other than that, I absolutely enjoyed reading this story! I hope that Hallmark considers adapting The Christmas Child into a movie, either for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries or Hallmark Hall of Fame. This is the type of story that I could definitely see being shared throughout Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups, which would definitely make me a very happy reader and movie blogger.

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Christmas book image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/christmas-mockup-with-open-book_1482296.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by Freepik</a>.  Image found at freepik.com.

The second book I read was That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton. This story counted for the challenges of “read a book with a cold cover” and “read a book about getting stranded”. According to history, the Titanic sank in a cold environment. As you see on the cover, the Titanic’s demise is depicted in the background. Also, according to history, the passengers were stranded in the middle of the ocean when the Titanic sank. This book is a historical fiction story about a young girl who survives the Titanic tragedy. After getting expelled from school, Dorothy, the book’s protagonist, is given a journal so she can express her feelings about her traumatic situation. This is another book that I really enjoyed! What made this book so good was the author’s ability to create a fictional character that feels and sounds like a real person. While there are moments where Dorothy seems like a typical child, there were also moments where she sounded wise beyond her years. Another good thing I liked about the book was how the author created a balance between moments of sadness and joy. For me, this story only had one flaw, which was the editing. There were times when I felt that commas were missing from some of the sentences. Also, I found sentences in some parts of the book that were either too short or too long. However, because this book is written in a journal format, I’m not sure if this was a legitimate editing error or if it was supposed to reflect the idea of a child’s style of writing. I feel that Hallmark should adapt this story into a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. A film adaptation of this book would be very different from the other Hallmark Hall of Fame films that were released in recent years because a.) it’s been at least six years since a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie has featured a child or young person as the protagonist and b.) there has been few movies from Hallmark Hall of Fame that feature children or young people dealing with or overcoming traumatic situations. Also, when I think about the portrayal of the Titanic in film, I realize that not only have the main point of views never been from a child, but also barely explores the trauma that can be experienced from surviving such a horrific event.

Books Seamless Pattern
Old-fashioned books image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/books-seamless-pattern_1539033.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on these books? Would you like me to talk about more books on 18 Cinema Lane? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing Review

December 25th was a special day for Hearties: it was Christmas as well as the premiere of When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing! Hearties were given the opportunity to not only partake in the festivities of the season, but also to celebrate the arrival of When Calls the Heart’s next chapter. Even though I was looking forward to this film, my expectations for it were low. When I first learned about the film’s synopsis, it sounded like Cody and Becky’s story from When Calls the Heart: New Year’s Wish was being rehashed to a certain extent. Earlier this month, in a Word on the Street post, I shared my thoughts about the trailer for When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. At best, it was just fine, not heightening my expectations for the film. However, I still wanted to watch the movie, especially since I am a fan of the show. Because I also re-cap When Calls the Heart in my “Sunset Over Hope Valley” series, reviewing this movie would keep up with 18 Cinema Lane’s continuity. Thank you for joining me for this review, as you’re about to discover my thoughts on When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing!

When Calls the Heart -- The Greatest Christmas Blessing posters
When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing 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=When+Calls+the+Heart+The+Greatest+Christmas+Blessing.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: One of the best components of When Calls the Heart has always been the strength of the cast! Just like on the show, the cast in When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing was one of the strongest parts of the film! Everyone in this cast portrayed their specific character very well, providing enough natural emotions and reactions to bring a sense of believability to their particular role. A pleasant surprise within this movie was Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon’s performance! While I’ve never seen any of Morgan’s acting performances before, I remember watching Jocelyn’s performances in The Christmas Cure and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Locks. Their portrayals of Grace and Lillian were so believable, it felt like their characters had a good familial bond.

 

The humor: More often than not, Hallmark has done a pretty good job at incorporating humor into their films. In When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, all of the humor felt good-natured and genuine. One of the funniest scenes in this movie was when Bill and Abigail were taste-testing the figgy pudding that he had made. Because Lori and Jack provided reactions that seemed very natural for that particular situation, it made the scene that much funnier. Another funny scene was when Bill accidently counted Robert while he was trying to figure out how many orphans arrived in Hope Valley. Similar to what I said about Lori and Jack, Jaiven’s reaction was so genuine that it helped that scene to be humorous in a good-natured way.

 

The character interactions: As I have already mentioned, one of the strongest parts of this movie was the cast! What is wonderful about this cast is witnessing how strong the on-screen chemistry is amongst the characters. Seeing the various characters interact with one another was a very great highlight of When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. Like I’ve said before, Morgan and Jocelyn both pulled off such a believable performance, the familial bond that they portrayed felt very real. This is also the case when it comes to the connections between the other characters. What helps is the film’s cast is also the cast on the show, having those relationships already established in previous stories.

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Group of Christmas figures image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-cute-christmas-character_3188970.htm’>Designed by Pikisuperstar</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A two-hour commercial for “When Hope Calls”: When I talked about the trailer for When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, I mentioned that the main plot of the movie was how a group of orphans are stranded in Hope Valley during Christmas-time. While I thought this plot was the best one in the movie, I feel it should have been a subplot. During the commercials in-between this film, it was revealed that the main plot of When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing would serve as the premise for the new show on Hallmark Movies Now, “When Hope Calls”. It was also revealed that “When Hope Calls” would premiere on Hallmark’s streaming service next summer. Going back to why I think the main plot from When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing should have been a subplot, it doesn’t seem like any aspect of this main plot will be transferred over to When Calls the Heart’s sixth season. Also, because the story for “When Hope Calls” was introduced about six to eight months before its premiere, the creative team behind When Calls the Heart/ “When Hope Calls” could run the risk of making any hype for this new show quickly disappear before it has a chance to receive any amount of anticipation from a potential audience. Because of how much attention this main plot received, it felt like the characters from When Calls the Heart were placed on the side-lines. I, honestly, think that the creative team behind this movie should have waited to introduce “When Hope Calls” in a two-part episode on When Calls the Heart.

 

The subplots: Like I previously mentioned, the best plot in When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing was the one involving the orphans and their care-givers. However, I found all of the subplots to be weak and uninteresting. For example, throughout the movie, Jesse and his friends are trying to find a suit so Jesse can take Clara to a special performance of The Nutcracker. This subplot feels like a step backward compared with the subplot Jesse was given in When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree. Even his subplot in the ninth episode of the fifth season was stronger than his subplot in this film. To me, these subplots lacked depth and intrigue, causing me to not feel invested in any of these stories.

 

Tom Thornton’s absence: In my season finale post from the “Sunset Over Hope Valley” series, I said that Tom’s incorporation into When Calls the Heart’s Christmas movie would make up for Tom’s absence in the season finale of the show. Unfortunately, not only was Tom nowhere to be found, but he was never referenced in any part of the movie. Of course, I was disappointed by this. I think he could have been given a really well-written story arc where he has to deal with becoming an uncle and spending his first Christmas without his brother. This story arc could have shown the two different sides of Christmas: the joyous side and the emotional side. Because this was Hope Valley’s first Christmas without Jack, but there were also good things to acknowledge about the Christmas season, Tom’s story arc could have shown a nice balance between these two ideas.

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Necessary Christmas items image created by Moonstarer at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-elements-collection_994916.htm’>Designed by Moonstarer</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by Moonstarer – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

While I thought that When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing was a good film, I honestly thought it could have been better. If I had the choice, I would choose last year’s Christmas movie, When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree, over this one. This is because all of the plots in last year’s film were stronger and equally well-told. The screen-writing was the biggest flaw of this year’s movie, causing me to lower my expectations for When Calls the Heart’s sixth season. Even though I’m still looking forward to this show’s return, I have my concerns about the overall story for the upcoming season. During the commercials in-between When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, there was an advertisement for the new season. The biggest plot-point in this trailer was how Hope Valley will be receiving a telephone. While there could be an interesting story associated with this idea, the commercial didn’t give me a reason to get excited about a telephone coming to Hope Valley. However, in this same commercial, it was mentioned that Clara and Jesse are planning on building a barn. This part of the advertisement excited me the most, as this detail left me with several unanswered questions. Hopefully, When Calls the Heart’s next season can be filled with more intriguing stories. This show, in my opinion, has a pretty good track record when it comes to story-telling, so I will be optimistic about what’s to come for this show.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Are you looking forward to When Calls the Heart’s sixth season? What is your favorite When Calls the Heart Christmas movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Paper Chase Review + 45 Follower Thank You

In my review of Return from Witch Mountain, I mentioned that I would publish my 45 follower thank you review very soon. Because I, recently, watched a film that was released in 1973, now is the time for me to talk about that film. For this post, I have chosen The Paper Chase. Before seeing this movie, the only film about law school I had ever seen was Legally Blonde. So, I was interested in seeing this particular concept from a different perspective. I am aware that this movie was based on a pre-existing novel. However, because I have never read this book, I’m only reviewing The Paper Chase as a film, not a book-to-film adaptation. How good or bad is the ninth film for this specific review series? Check out my review of The Paper Chase to find out!

The Paper Chase poster
The Paper Chase poster created by 20th Century Fox. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/86193/The-Paper-Chase/#.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: All of the character portrayals in this movie were very good! Everyone appeared so believable, it seemed like I was watching real-life people dealing with real-life situations. Willis Bell, to me, was a very unlikable character. However, Craig Richard Nelson did a good job portraying that sense of unlikability which came across very effectively on-screen. Before watching The Paper Chase, I had seen Lindsay Wagner’s performances in Eat, Play, Love and Mingle All the Way. But, this was my first time watching Lindsay’s performance in a project not affiliated with Hallmark. I think she did a really good job portraying Susan Fields in this movie, giving an acting performance that appeared very natural and versatile.

 

The cinematography: While watching The Paper Chase, I noticed some really creative cinematography. One example of this was the reflection of the textbook in James T. Hart’s glasses. This stressed the importance of academics and how far James was willing to go to succeed. Another really cool use of cinematography in The Paper Chase was whenever someone was walking on the glass library floor. The way the camera focused on the floor, as if looking upward, was really interesting. Seeing the unique ways that cinematography was used in this film was such a pleasant surprise!

 

The music: Even though music was only found at certain moments in the film, I really enjoyed the music that was featured within the movie. To me, the best song was during the scene where James and Susan are on the frozen pond. This instrumental music was such a pretty score that beautifully complemented the wintery beauty in that scene. I was surprised when I found out John Williams created the music for The Paper Chase because I’ve been used to hearing his iconic scores from well-known blockbuster films. The music that was incorporated into this film was a great thing to find!

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Paper airplane image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/paper-plane-in-cartoon-style_766478.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/paper”>Paper vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

What I didn’t like about the film:

A slow pace: The pace in The Paper Chase was slow. It was slow enough to the point of making the movie feel drawn out and longer than it might have been intended.

 

Lack of plot: Before watching The Paper Chase, I had expected the movie to have a substantial plot, with a conflict, climax, and some rising action. Unfortunately, the movie did not have any of those things. The Paper Chase is a story that’s very “slice of life”, showing a year in the life of the characters. While this story wasn’t bad, I, personally, was expecting more from the plot.

 

Too dialogue heavy: The Paper Chase is very dialogue heavy. The majority of the film consists of the characters talking, either to or at each other. Dialogue is a necessary component to any film. However, there has to be more to a movie than simply dialogue.

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Law school textbooks image created by Peter Skadberg at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Peter Skadberg.”

My overall impression:

Overall, I thought The Paper Chase was ok. There were things within the film that I liked, but I was expecting more from the movie. If given the choice, I would pick Legally Blonde over The Paper Chase because, in my opinion, Legally Blonde has a stronger plot. But, I’m glad I chose The Paper Chase for my 45 follower thank you review, as I might not have watched it if it weren’t for my 45 followers! A very special thanks to all of my readers and followers, as you are the reason why these special movie reviews are even possible! When I started my blog back in February, I never imagined I would receive almost 50 followers by the end of the year. Seeing 18 Cinema Lane prosper really does show how important and special movie blogs are in the world of blogging.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Which movie from my blog follower thank you series is your favorite? Are you looking forward to which movie I’ll review for my 50 follower thank you post? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Christmas on Holly Lane Review

When I started writing Word on the Street posts back in February, one of the first topics that I talked about was a film called “The House of Holly Lane”. At the time, I speculated that the movie could be a Hallmark production, pointing out clues such as each cast member’s involvement with Hallmark movies and the title itself. As more information for the film was revealed, the title not only changed to Christmas on Holly Lane, but it ended up being an UP Network production. This is not the only time where I thought that an upcoming movie would be a potential Hallmark project. In May, I speculated that “Poinsettias for Christmas” could be a Hallmark movie because there has, so far, not been a Hallmark story centered around the subject of poinsettias. However, Poinsettias for Christmas became a Lifetime movie. Because I have talked about Christmas on Holly Lane on 18 Cinema Lane and because both posts about the movie gathered a combined total of 107 views and 7 likes, I felt that I owed a review of this movie to all my readers and followers. Was this movie as good as the typical Hallmark Christmas film? Take a sleigh ride through this review if you want to find out!

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I just realized that this is the first UP Network movie I’ve reviewed on my blog. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: For the most part, the cast of Christmas on Holly Lane was good! Because I’ve seen most of these cast members appear in several Hallmark movies before, I knew they had what it takes, talent-wise, to pull off a good acting performance. Even though Giles Panton has starred in nine Hallmark movies, I have never seen him in a lead role. After watching Giles’ performance in Christmas on Holly Lane, I, as an audience member, saw that he definitely has the talent to, one day, lead a Hallmark production. Any time I’ve seen Karen Holness in a Hallmark film, I notice that she always brings her A game to her specific role. Karen’s portrayal of Riley in Christmas on Holly Lane was a highlight in the film, as it appeared natural and believable. Like I said about Giles Panton, Karen Holness absolutely has the talent to, one day, lead a Hallmark film.

 

  • More than one protagonist: In Christmas on Holly Lane, there were three protagonists instead of just one. This story-telling format is not usually seen in Christmas movies. The only other Christmas movie I’ve seen with a similar format was the Hallmark movie, Charming Christmas. For Christmas on Holly Lane, I thought this format worked because each character was given their moment to shine. They also were given their own unique personalities and specific situations for them to resolve. It made it seem like each of these protagonists had an equal amount of importance.

 

  • The on-screen chemistry: As I mentioned before, Karen Holness’ performance was really good! Another actor that I was impressed with in this movie was Jaime M. Callica! Both Karen and Jaime gave good acting performances individually and as a pair, with their on-screen chemistry being a highlight. I liked seeing Riley and Jake’s relationship develop over the course of the movie because it appeared very believable. The quality of the acting performance helped me, as an audience member, stay invested in the on-screen relationship.
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Christmas house created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/smiling-snowman-with-a-red-house-background_958592.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundvector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A slow pace: The pace for Christmas on Holly Lane was slow. It was so slow that after watching 30 minutes of the film, I wondered if anything significant would happen. While the story picked up a little bit after the initial thirty minutes, the pace continued at a slow rate.

 

  • Too many plots: While watching Christmas on Holly Lane, I counted a total of twelve plots (yes, you read that right) within the film. When these plots unfolded on-screen, I found myself not caring about, at least, half of them. A few of these plots had the potential to be interesting, like Cat creating her own restaurant. But, because there were eleven other plots competing for attention, Cat’s specific plot couldn’t be explored as thoroughly as it could have.

 

  • Lack of Christmas spirit: The biggest issue I had with Christmas on Holly Lane was how little emphasis was put on the Christmas holiday. To me, it seemed like Christmas was incorporated in this film just to provide the movie’s aesthetic. Christmas themed morals and lessons (such as the power of giving, for example) were pretty much nonexistent. With a town called Holly Lane, I was hoping that a Christmas obsessed town would be featured on-screen. Sadly, the only two things that were prominently featured in the town of Holly Lane was Sarah’s house and Cat’s restaurant. If this exact same story were placed in any other time of year, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Poinsettia plant leaves. Christmas displays
Poinsettia photo created by Jannoon028 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/plant-with-red-leaves_986669.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flower”>Flower image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

In recent years, UP Network has put an emphasis on creating “uplifting” movies and shows to give their audience. But after watching Christmas on Holly Lane, I did not feel uplifted at all. Honestly, this movie made me feel bummed out. When I think of a typical Christmas movie, I think of movies that have a sense of goodness to them, whether because of the film’s messages or the heart-warming nature of the characters. With Christmas on Holly Lane, however, it puts too much focus on the “doom and gloom” of the protagonists’ realities without providing enough positive counterparts to balance out the negativity within the story. It also doesn’t help that the Christmas holiday is given such little emphasis in this film. Out of all the Christmas movies I’ve seen this year, so far, Christmas on Holly Lane is the worst one. This is a shame because, in the past, UP Network has created some really good films. In fact, my favorite Christmas movie last year was Christmas Princess. Hopefully, UP Network can have better luck with their movie making endeavors in 2019.

 

Overall score: 5.1 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of UP Network’s Christmas films? What is your least favorite Christmas movie this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Return from Witch Mountain Review + 40 Follower Thank You

Back in early November, I received 40 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! As I mentioned in my Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List post, I’ve been busy doing blog related things. I apologize that this thank you review is being published much later than expected. But, anyways, back to the review itself. Like I’ve done with my other thank you reviews, it is time for me to talk about a film that was released 40 years ago (in 1978). Because Return from Witch Mountain just so happened to be on my DVR, I decided to pick that movie for this review. Since this was my first time seeing this particular film, I coordinated a double feature with both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain. I really enjoyed the first movie, as it was intriguing and memorable. So, after I saw Escape to Witch Mountain, I was definitely looking forward to watching the continuation of Tony and Tia’s story. Was the sequel just as memorable as its predecessor? Join me on this journey through this review to find out!

Return from Witch Mountain poster
Return from Witch Mountain poster created by Buena Vista Distribution and Walt Disney Productions. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/24411/Return-From-Witch-Mountain/#.

Things I liked about this film:

  • The acting: I really liked this cast! Everyone was so talented, bringing a sense of believability to the portrayal of their characters. I liked that Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards reprised their roles of Tony and Tia because their performances were a highlight in both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain! Ike and Kim not only provided versatility to their roles, but they also added a good amount of likability to their characters. I really liked Tony and Tia, as characters, because they seemed like intuitive children and good people. Everything I just said helped me, as an audience member, stay invested in Tony and Tia’s story.

 

  • The film’s setting: Whenever characters in a children’s/family movie or television show take a vacation to California (specifically the Los Angeles area), the portrayal of the trip is, more often than not, glamorized (for example, the characters take a trip to Hollywood and/or get involved in the movie-making aspect of the city). In Return from Witch Mountain, however, the portrayal of the Pasadena/Los Angeles area appeared well-rounded. While the film shows tourist/ “glamourous” aspects of the city, such as the Rose Bowl Stadium and a museum, other parts of the area are showcased in the film’s narrative. For instance, a run-down house that serves as a secret hiding place represents a not-so-glamourous side to that particular area. Within the movie, a plutonium plant is also featured, giving the audience an idea of the types of businesses that can reside within that area.

 

  • The story: While there are a few similarities between the narratives of Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain, I feel that the story in the sequel expanded upon Tony and Tia’s story from the first movie. Return from Witch Mountain explores the idea of what happens when twins are separated and the differences of how their powers can be used. The acting performances and screen-writing helped these ideas flourish to the best of their ability. When watching this film, I was surprised by some of the other ideas expressed within this story, such as the importance of education and what exactly it means to be “tough”. While these ideas were not fully explored, I still thought they added something special to the overall story.
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Colorful travel suitcase image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/beautiful-illustration-of-travel_2686674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The editing: In Return from Witch Mountain, there were a few scenes that seemed to end a little too quickly. I feel this was a result of the film’s editing. However, this problem was improved upon from the first movie, where the editing made a certain amount of scenes feel too short.

 

  • Scenes lasting a little too long: There were some scenes in Return from Witch Mountain that, in time length, were a little too long. An example of this is the museum robbery scene, where the events associated with it seemed to be stretched out. To me, the length of these scenes were the result of satisfying the film’s run-time. Either the movie itself should have been a bit shorter or these scenes should have been reduced in, about, half.

 

  • The villains: While the actors portraying the villains did a really good job with the acting material they were given, I thought the villains themselves were a bit on the sillier side. Because of this, I, as an audience member, didn’t get a strong sense that Tony and Tia were danger until the film’s climax. I also thought that the ideologies and beliefs of the villains were more unsettling than the villains themselves. This was very different from Escape to Witch Mountain, where the secrecy surrounding the villains added to the fear and concern for Tony and Tia.
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Colorful galaxy image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/lovely-hand-drawn-galaxy-background_2943080.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:

To start, I just want to say thank you to all of my 40 followers! If it weren’t for you, I probably would have never seen Return from Witch Mountain or its predecessor. But, I’m glad I checked this movie out because I really enjoyed it! Return from Witch Mountain is not only a good movie, it’s also a good sequel, expanding the overall story and improving upon flaws from Escape to Witch Mountain. As I think more about both movies, I realized that they would be a great way to introduce someone to the science-fiction genre. I feel this way because while this is a science-fiction story, it was light on the science-fiction elements. Because I also received 45 followers last month, I will publish my thank you review for a 1973 released film very soon. Whichever film I end up picking, I will be so excited to share it with all of my readers and followers!

 

 

Overall score: 8.1 out of 10

 

 

Have you seen either of these two films? What is your favorite live-action Disney movie? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen