A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List 2019

Now that the Christmas/holiday shopping season has begun, it feels like the perfect time to bring back a tradition that I started last year. Returning to 18 Cinema Lane is my Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List, where I share the movie related things I’d like to receive as gifts! Just like the first one, there will be four categories that each item will be listed under. If you need more of an explanation, you can check out my first Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List at the featured link. Also, like last year, each item is something that I think could be realistic. Before I start this list, I just want to say that the only image in this post that is not one of my screenshots is the Three Wise Men themed wish list image.

A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List

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Three Wise Men themed wish list paper image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Something You Want

  • In last year’s Christmas Wish-List, I shared that I would like to see Stuart Townsend and Marguerite Moreau star in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie together. While I still want this, I’d also like to see other actors and actresses from the Queen of the Damned film appear in a Hallmark Hall of Fame project. If you read my review of Swept from the Sea, you would remember that I enjoyed Vincent Perez’s performance in that film! Even though I’ve only seen two of his movies, I believe that Vincent would be able to use his acting talents to bring a Hallmark Hall of Fame story to life. I also wouldn’t be opposed to seeing these actors or actresses working behind the camera, such as directing or producing the film. According to his IMDB filmography, Matthew Newton, who portrayed Armand in Queen of the Damned, has written, directed, and produced a few films. Maybe, one day, he could help create a Hallmark project. Like I said in last year’s Christmas Wish-List, I’m not sure if there’s anything preventing these actors or actresses from appearing in a Hallmark film or if they’ve ever gotten along well enough where they would want to work together again. But if Hallmark wants to coordinate a mini Queen of the Damned reunion, I would be on board for that decision!

 

  • On Wikipedia, when I was deciding which film to choose for a blog follower dedication review, I came across a movie titled The Wife of Monte Cristo. Monte Cristo and Haydee are one of my favorite couples from pop culture. However, in different adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo, Haydee is either not featured in the film or she appears in the film for a brief period of time. Haydee and Monte’s relationship is also barely talked about. What makes me want to see this film is how it not only focuses on Monte and Haydee’s relationship, but also allows Haydee to become a more prominent character. Currently, the film is not airing on Turner Classic Movies. But I would love to review it for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Clean Movie Month!

 

  • In the movie, Easter Under Wraps, the protagonist, Erin, brings the most adorable suitcase on her trip to Washington. While I’m not shopping for luggage anytime soon, I would love to own a suitcase that looks like Erin’s! Based on the photo, it appears to be perfect for a weekend trip. I also really like its color. I don’t know what the suitcase’s inner material looks like, but I would want it to have my blog’s logo printed on it.

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Something You Need to See

I’ve said on 18 Cinema Lane before that I would really like to see the movie, Words on Bathroom Walls. But, as of late November to early December 2019, it seems that this film still does not have a distributor. If you are not aware, a distributor is a studio that releases a film. Because Words on Bathroom Walls doesn’t have a distributor yet, it means the film hasn’t been given a premiere date. I hope that this movie finds a distributor sooner rather than later so people can finally see it!

 

Even though When Calls the Heart is a television show, there are still movies that bridge the seasons together. So, this Wish-List request counts for this section. Ever since the show’s season five finale, I have noticed that Tom Thornton has received very little acknowledgement. It’s gotten to the point where it seems like Elizabeth is ignoring Jack’s side of the family. I realize that the issue lies in the screenwriting. Because the screenwriters don’t make an effort to include Tom in the story, they don’t bother to recognize his existence in that world. As a fan of both Tom Thornton and When Calls the Heart, all I ask is for the screenwriters to make more references to Jack’s brother. If Max Lloyd-Jones cannot make an appearance on the show, that’s understandable. But the most important thing is for Tom’s importance to get recognized more often.

 

This Wish-List request is similar to the previous one. In my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Endgame, I talked about how Bucky was, to a certain extent, treated like an afterthought in that film. Ever since then, not only do I feel like Bucky is still being seen as an afterthought, but it seems like the fans of the character are being treated like an afterthought as well. In this case, the problem lies with Disney and Marvel, as they have made very few efforts to acknowledge these fans and get them excited for The Falcon & the Winter Soldier. It also doesn’t help that they are doing this to a co-lead character of an upcoming TV show. For this request, the only thing I ask is for Disney and Marvel to stop treating Bucky and his fans like afterthoughts. No matter what you’re a fan of, no person should ever feel this way. Besides, fans are the ones who can make or break the popularity of a piece of entertainment.

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A movie related piece of clothing or accessory I’d want to wear

For this category, I have two choices. The first is Rachel’s pill-box hat from The Trouble with Angels! In my review of the movie, I featured three pictures of this hat. It is the coolest pill-box hat that I’ve ever come across and I’d love to own one that looks like it. The second is Paula’s choker necklace from Gaslight! I also featured a picture of it in my review of the film and this piece of jewelry is just adorable. Because Gaslight was filmed in black-and-white, it’s difficult to determine what color the necklace was meant to be. But, if I owned a necklace like this, I would like to be able to interchange the ribbon to coordinate with any outfit.

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Gaslight choker necklace picture

A book I’ve read that I’d like to see adapted into a film

When it comes to books I’ve read in 2019, most of them were either already turned into adaptations or I felt they didn’t need to become adaptations. However, there was one book where the more I read it, the more I could see it as a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series. This book is Murder on Ice by Alina Adams! When it comes to mystery series on Hallmark’s second network, there have not been any collection of films revolving around athletics. In Hallmark’s library of films, there are only three movies I’m aware of that prominently feature figure skating. If the Figure Skating Mystery books were adapted into a movie series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, it would fill those two voids that I just mentioned. I even pictured which actors and actresses could portray some of the characters. Despite the fact that Hallmark’s second network is saturated with mystery series at the moment, I think that an adaptation of Murder on Ice could bring something new to the table.

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What are your thoughts on this year’s Christmas Wish-List? Are there any movie-related things you’d like to receive as a gift? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

 

Word on the Street: Spider-Man to remain in MCU

I first learned about this news on the blog, Annlyel Online. After that, other people starting talking about the story. Since I haven’t written a follow-up Word on the Street post in quite a while, I decided to discuss the latest news about the world’s neighborhood Marvel hero. Yesterday, on September 27th, both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety broke the news that Spider-Man was, indeed, staying put in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Variety provided details about the new deal between Disney and Sony, stating that it “was signed late on Thursday night”. This new deal reveals that “Disney will receive roughly 25% of the profits”. This sounds like an increase from the 5% that I talked about in my Word on the Street story last month. Also revealed was how “Disney will retain its merchandising rights and will put up roughly a quarter of the financing”. In both articles from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, a new Spider-Man movie was announced, with the project given a release date of July 16th, 2021. Because of this deal, Spider-Man is also scheduled for one additional movie within the MCU. I’m not as educated about the business-side of the movie industry as I am with other aspects of it. But, to me, I find myself feeling skeptical about how quickly this issue was resolved. Legitimizing business transactions, creating negotiations that are suitable for all parties involved, and greenlighting a movie takes time. However, all of these things were able to be taken care of in only a month.

Avengers Endgame Spider Man poster
Avengers: Endgame Spider Man poster created by The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Marvel and Avengers Characters: ©2017 Marvel. Image found at https://www.marvel.com/articles/movies/mcu-heroes-unveil-avengers-endgame-character-posters

When this story was first published, I listened to several perspectives on this particular topic. One of them belonged to Kneon from Clownfish TV, who I mentioned in one of my Word on the Street stories last month. He brought up some points about the story that I find myself agreeing with. In his video, “Spider-Man STAYS in the MCU…for now”, Kneon says that he feels Spider-Man “has been relegated to sidekick status” during his existence in the MCU. This I agree with, as it seems like Peter Parker has become a sort of “little brother” to the other heroes. The character’s youth doesn’t help his case. In Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man was only given a limited amount of screen-time and was one of the heroes who became “dusted”. Kneon also expressed his concerns about Spider-Man’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stating that he feels the studio’s new phase “does not seem to be very, um, hospitable to Marvel’s old school heroes”. This is yet another point that I agree with. If you read my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Endgame, you would know how disappointed I was when Bucky didn’t have anything new or interesting added to his story in preparation for the show, The Falcon & the Winter Soldier. In that review, I said that “In the scene where Steve gives Sam the shield, it almost seemed like Bucky was an afterthought, as he was standing in the distance and watching everything going on in front of him”. Since then, it seems like the studio sees Bucky and his fans as afterthoughts, as Marvel and Disney haven’t really made a strong effort to get the fans excited for the show. Something that I’ve been thinking about because of this story is how no new “faces” of the MCU have been officially established. From Phases 1 through 3, the three “faces” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. In Avengers: Endgame and beyond, these new “faces” were not named. Some people have speculated that it could be Spider-Man. But, after hearing Disney and Sony’s new deal, that idea may be in question.

 

How do you feel about Spider-Man remaining in the MCU? Which movie do you think he’ll appear in? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the references I mentioned in this story, you can type “Spider-Man STAYS in the MCU…for now” in Youtube’s search bar or visit Clownfish TV’s official Youtube channel. You can also visit these links:

Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/spider-man-shocker-disney-sony-striking-deal-new-movie-1243777

https://annlyelonline.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/breaking-news-spider-man-is-back-in-the-mcu/

Take 3: The Littlest Horse Thieves Review

When it came to The Costume Drama Blogathon, I wanted to choose a movie that was already on my DVR. Out of the six movies that would have fit the requirements, I decided to review The Littlest Horse Thieves! This is a Disney film that I didn’t know existed until this year. Since I reviewed Swept from the Sea and Hallmark’s Hall of Fame’s In Love and War, I thought that I would change things up by selecting a children’s/family-friendly film. What made me want to watch the movie was the historical aspect of the story. Before even hearing about The Littlest Horse Thieves, I never knew that ponies were used in the mining industry. The only animal I knew that went into mines were small birds. I was looking forward to learning something new while being entertained.

The Littlest Horse Thieves poster
The Littlest Horse Thieves poster created by Walt Disney Productions and Buena Vista Distribution. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at https://movies.disney.com/the-littlest-horse-thieves.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When it comes to casting young actors in lead roles, those performances can be hit or miss. In The Littlest Horse Thieves, the performances of all three leads were really good! Chloe Franks, Andrew Harrison, and Benjie Bolgar portray the titular horse thieves. Throughout the film, their characters were endearing and likable. The emotions these actors displayed appeared very genuine, as if their characters were real people. It was really sweet to watch the characters’ friendship evolve over the course of the film. Because of these factors, it made it easy for me to root of Alice, Dave, and Tommy.

 

Historical accuracy: The Littlest Horse Thieves takes place in, I believe, the early 1900s. Every aspect of this movie reflected that particular time-period really well! The sets looked like the audience could step back in time, that this point in history was not too far away. Things like wardrobe, dialect, and even the artwork on the walls brought the early 1900s to life again. Even the issues surrounding mining and employee well-being seemed to come directly from that decade. What made the historical accuracy work in this film was the creative team’s attention to detail. It shows how much care was put into this project.

 

Not so perfect plans: In a lot of children’s/family-friendly films, the young protagonists’ plans always work out in their favor. This is not exactly the case for The Littlest Horse Thieves. I’m not going to spoil the movie in case you want to see it. But the children sometimes overlook important details relating to their plan to save the ponies. I liked how the protagonists’ efforts didn’t go according to plan. This made the characters and their situation seem realistic and relatable.

Pony Face near the Tree
Close-up of pony image created by Flatart at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by flatart – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A drawn-out story: The Littlest Horse Thieves had a drawn-out story that seemed to last too long. The first half of the movie focused on the children finding out about the conflict and figuring out how to solve it. The act of rescuing/stealing the ponies didn’t happen until the film’s halfway point. It also only lasted for a few minutes. The second half of the movie shifted the focus from the children to the adults. The overall narrative talked about everything but the most exciting part of the movie.

 

The editing: During the first half of the film, I noticed how less-than-stellar the editing was. It made conversations feel cut-off and transitions between scenes less smooth. These two aspects made the overall flow of the film seem choppy.

 

The conflict between Dave and his stepdad: Within The Littlest Horse Thieves, there was a conflict between Dave and his stepdad. It’s not the conflict itself I didn’t like. How little time was devoted to it is my biggest issue. In the first half of the film, Dave and his stepdad dislike each other. While the stepdad’s reason is never explained, Dave feels his reasons can be justified. His dislike toward his stepdad also affects his younger brother, Tommy. After the ponies are rescued/stolen, Dave and Tommy’s stepdad automatically becomes supportive of the children and their cause. The aforementioned conflict was not fully explored and felt it was there for the sake of being there.

The Costume Drama Blogathon banner
The Costume Drama Blogathon poster created by Debbie from Moon in Gemini. Image found at https://debravega.wordpress.com/2019/07/14/announcing-the-costume-drama-blogathon/.

My overall impression:

Every studio has those films that don’t always get talked about. Disney is no exception to this. That’s why I try to go out of my way to address these films on my blog. Some of them are better than others. But you never knew what’s in store until you give the film a chance. For this particular blogathon, I chose to watch The Littlest Horse Thieves with an open mind. Now that I have seen it, I can honestly say that it was just ok. It’s not one of the worst things that the studio has ever made. But it’s not one of Disney’s strongest efforts. In fact, I could see children, especially younger ones, becoming bored by this movie. However, people who like British and/or historical fiction films will probably like it. Its historical accuracy is pretty satisfying and there are moments that I found educational. I could tell that the creative team behind this film tried their best to make something worthwhile. But it wasn’t as impressive as it could have been.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Have you seen The Littlest Horse Thieves? Which film from a major studio do think is underrated? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Return to Oz Review

It could be seen through the window of a local video store. It’s VHS cover had a whitish-bluish tint, a sign that the Sun had stolen its colors. After entering the store, the video was located on the right-hand side of an incoming customer’s view. When they made that turn and walked through the first aisle, it could be seen front and center on the shelf. For someone who has never heard of this movie, but had seen its predecessor, they will have so many questions flooding their mind. Why is Dorothy wearing whitish-silvery shoes instead her iconic ruby-red slippers? Why has Toto been replaced with a chicken? Why do the pictures on the back of the VHS cover appear so creepy? These questions may be so overpowering, that the movie could be passed over for another, less odd-looking film. Long after the video store closed its doors, the movie in our discussion has gained a notorious reputation. Whether or not that’s a good thing is open for debate. What reputation has this film garnered? It has been known as one of the creepiest children’s/family-friendly films of all time. If you haven’t guessed already, that film is none other than Return to Oz.

Return to Oz poster
Return to Oz poster created by Walt Disney Pictures, Silver Screen Partners II, and Buena Vista Distribution.  ©Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at https://movies.disney.com/return-to-oz.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When an actor or actress accepts a role that was made famous by another actor or actress, there’s a good chance that comparisons in acting performances will be made. However, that actor or actress could end up portraying that character so well, that they may bring something new to the role. This is the case for Fairuza Balk, who took on the role of Dorothy. What’s so great about her performance is how it wasn’t an impersonation of Judy Garland’s performance. Instead, Fairuza captured the essence of Dorothy’s child-like innocence and demeanor, while bringing a haunted nature to the character. Because Return to Oz takes place six months after the tornado sent Dorothy to Oz, this character is now tainted with trauma. The beginning of the movie presents a good example of this portrayal. Even though Dorothy gets excited when talking about her “friends” from Oz, there are times when she can be seen staring at nothing in particular, like the world around her has disappeared.

 

The sets: This movie has some of the most magnificent sets I’ve ever seen on film! One that easily comes to mind is Princess Mombi’s castle. The room featuring mirrors wrapped in gold was just exquisite, making the scenes featuring this location appear photogenic. Other scenes were atmospheric, giving the audience the impression that the world on screen had truly come to life. When Dorothy discovers that the Yellow Brick Road has been demolished, that moment created a sense of dread about the fate of Oz. I’d also like to point out that the sets featured outside of Oz looked like an accurate replica of the story’s time-period. From the antique furniture to the machinery, everything reflected the world that The Wizard of Oz had previously established.

 

The use of Claymation: Claymation isn’t often incorporated into films. When it is, this can lend itself to some interesting film-making. In Return to Oz, Claymation was primarily used for rocks, the Nome King, and his mountain. This creative decision was a unique way to compensate for the limited use and quality of the special effects of the ‘80s. This particular art form did provide some unsettling moments for the protagonists. In some scenes, a face on a red stone background can be seen talking to the Nome King, who is off-screen. When Dorothy and her friends arrive at the Nome King’s mountain, the environment is dark and grey. Little color and light can be seen when the Nome King is around. These examples prove that Claymation can help enhance a film’s tone and a scene’s mood.

 

References to the predecessor: Return to Oz is the sequel to The Wizard of Oz. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this story made an effort to reference the movie that came before it. For one thing, the tornado that was featured in the previous film is the cause of Dorothy’s trauma. Characters from the predecessor make their appearances, such as Toto and the Cowardly Lion. Familiar places are visited, like the Emerald City and even Dorothy’s house that fell in Oz. Whenever a new place, person, or situation was introduced in the story, Dorothy would admit that she doesn’t remember them or hasn’t heard of them before. All of these things helped the story keep a sense of continuity.

The Wizard of Oz Blogathon Banner
The Wizard of Oz Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/announcing-the-wizard-of-oz-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Limited or no screen-time for beloved characters: As I just mentioned, characters from the previous film make an appearance in Return to Oz. However, they’re only on screen for a limited amount of time. Because the Nome King turned the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion into stone, they are frozen in place for most of the film. Since the Scarecrow was kidnapped by the Nome King himself, he didn’t appear in the movie until the climax. As for Glinda, the Munchkins, and the Flying Monkeys, they are nowhere to be found. This decision was probably made to let new characters shine and find their own place in the story. But I don’t think this should have been done at the expense of the previous film’s characters.

 

Some damaging messages: Another thing that I’ve talked about was Dorothy becoming traumatized by the tornado from the previous film. In an effort to help her move forward from the trauma, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry think it’s a good idea to take Dorothy to a psychiatric hospital where she is scheduled to receive electroshock therapy. I understand that this part of the story represents a belief from the late 1800s to early 1900s. However, presenting this idea to an audience in the mid ‘80s or today could give people the wrong message. This message could be interpreted as how not utilizing the power of imagination and make-believe to help traumatized individuals, especially traumatized children, is a good idea. Another scene where the message could be misinterpreted happens at the end of the movie. Princess Ozma tells Dorothy that she can go back to Oz whenever she wants, as long as she keeps it a secret. Messages like holding back on creativity will help one become “normal” and bottling up ideas and feelings is accepted could also be damaging. Prior to the release of Return to Oz, Disney has been known for promoting creativity. They also have incorporated important themes into their stories, such as honesty and respect. I think that the creative team behind this film should have taken a stance on how imagination and make-believe should be a complimentary component of someone’s journey through healing from a traumatic situation.

Seamless pattern with chamomile and poppies flowers
Poppy and chamomile pattern image created by Klyaksun at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/seamless-pattern-with-chamomile-and-poppies-flowers_1308007.htm’>Designed by Klyaksun</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Klyaksun – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The story from this review’s introduction is my story of how this movie came into my life. Because of something so simple as a VHS cover, I passed on the opportunity to watch this film. Fortunately, because of the Wizard of Oz Blogathon, I was granted that second chance to experience what this movie had to offer. Prior to watching Return to Oz, I had heard about its reputation on countless occasions. Curious enough to find out the truth for myself, I volunteered to review the film for the Blogathon. While there are unsettling moments, they never overshadowed my enjoyment of the movie. In fact, this film was a better sequel than I ever expected! Now that I have finally seen Return to Oz, I feel that, over the years, it has been judged unfairly, to a certain extent. I’m not denying that this movie has things about it that could frighten children. But let’s not forget that Disney films and even the original, The Wizard of Oz, had scary elements to them as well. The idea of someone’s house easily falling on anyone is a terrifying thought. The Wicked Witch of the West had a very unsettling presence throughout The Wizard of Oz. The first Disney animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was so terrifying for some young audience members, that employees at Radio City Music Hall had to change the upholstery on the chairs because of how the children reacted to the scene where Snow White is alone in the forest. My experience of watching Return to Oz shows that you never know what’s in store until you look past the VHS cover.

 

Overall score: 8.2 out of 10

 

Have you ever seen Return to Oz? What’s the creepiest children’s/family-friendly film you’ve ever watched? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Oz!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Is Spider-Man Leaving the MCU?

It seems like the most popular topic this week has been of Spider-Man leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, because I found this to be a fascinating topic, I decided to talk about it. Yesterday, on August 20th, Mike Fleming Jr. from Deadline reported that the creative partnership between Disney and Sony has ended. In the article, Mike writes that this was caused by Kevin Feige, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s president, and Tom Rothman, one of the leaders at Sony, not being able to come up with a satisfying financial agreement. Before this situation occurred, “Disney asked that future Spider-Man films be a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios” because Disney didn’t want to keep “continuing the current terms where Marvel receives in the range of 5% of first dollar gross”. Sony, on the other hand, tried to create other deals that, hopefully, would appeal to Disney. This is because they didn’t want to face the possibility of losing profits and their intellectual properties. Within this article, Mike reported that “it is understandable that the fiscally shrewd Rothman would balk at giving up half of Sony’s biggest franchise to Marvel”. He then questions, “Does the Mouse really need half of the movie universe also?” But no matter what offer Sony gave Disney, the latter studio refused. It left Feige, Rothman, and their respective studios parting ways, for now. Mike updated his report with an official statement that Sony made about the situation. To summarize what the studio said, the statement expresses no negative feelings toward Disney. They state that Kevin Feige is no longer able to produce their films because of the various projects that Feige is attached to. As of the release of this Word on the Street story and Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, it seems that Disney or Marvel hasn’t made any statements about the situation.

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Movie time image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food photo created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

When Spider-Man first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe prior to the release of Captain America: Civil War, fans were more than thrilled with the idea. They made statements about how Spider-Man was “coming home” and that he would, once again, be “joining the family”. I, honestly, couldn’t help but feel shocked about the idea of Spider-Man leaving the MCU. While I haven’t seen this studio’s version of Spider-Man films, I have seen Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Even though he’s only been featured on screen for three years, Spider-Man has already made a big impact. Based on what I read in Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, it seems like both Disney and Sony both wanted a significant share in this cinematic pie. However, it sounds like Disney was expecting a bigger share than they already had. As I already wrote in this Word on the Street post, Mike was questioning if Disney truly needed more of the Spider-Man property. This is a good question to ask, especially since the MCU already has a lot of characters and stories within their roster. Speaking of rosters, something that Sony said in their statement made Disney look hypocritical. When addressing why Kevin won’t be working with Sony anymore, Sony said “that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own”. Even though Marvel is owned by Disney, Disney purchased this studio in the late 2000s. This means that the characters and most of the stories are acquired from Marvel comics, not something that Disney created themselves. The same goes for the Star Wars franchise, which Disney bought from George Lucas in the mid-2010s. As for the classic animated films and live-action remakes, a large portion of these are adaptations of pre-existing, literary material. Even though Disney created their own version of the story, they did not create the story itself. So, yes, Disney owns a good amount of IP, but only on a technicality.

 

Do you think that Spider-Man will leave the MCU forever? If so, which superhero do you think will become the next face of the franchise? Put your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to read Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, here’s the link:

Disney-Sony Standoff Ends Marvel Studios & Kevin Feige’s Involvement In ‘Spider-Man’

Take 3: Summer Magic Review (A Month Without the Code — #5)

For a few years now, I have wanted to watch the film, Summer Magic. It’s a title that I had never heard of until I came across it on Pinterest. Even after I recorded the movie on my DVR, I didn’t make the time to watch it. Because of the A Month Without the Code Blogathon, I decided to include Summer Magic in my roster of films! This is the third movie of Hayley Mills’ that I’ve reviewed this year. I liked both The Moon-Spinners and The Trouble with Angels. When I read the movie’s tagline on their DVD cover, I saw the word “mystery” and was excited to see what kind of story would be told. I also discovered that Burl Ives was one of the stars of the film! Prior to watching Summer Magic, I had never seen Burl act. However, I was familiar with who Burl was as a singer, as I’ve heard his versions of various Christmas songs. So, I was curious to see if he was given a significant part in the movie or a cameo role where he got to portray himself. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s find out in this review!

Summer Magic poster
Summer Magic poster created by Walt Disney Production and Buena Vista Distribution. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Image found at https://movies.disney.com/summer-magic.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When it comes to films starring Hayley Mills, I, as an audience member, have never been disappointed! That’s because she has the acting talents to lead a film! Hayley had such a pleasant on-screen presence in Summer Magic, bringing her character, Nancy, to life with charm and likability. As I said in my introduction, I had never seen Burl Ives act before. His portrayal of Osh Popham was better than I expected it to be! He was so expressive in his acting performance and his singing performance could do no wrong. Deborah Walley is an actress that I am not familiar with. Despite this, I was entertained by her performance! Julia was such an interesting character to watch on screen. Deborah’s ability to pull off a well-rounded performance helped her achieve that goal. The rest of the cast was good as well. Because of the believability they brought to their roles, all of the characters appeared and felt like real-life people!

 

The music: If you’re going to cast Burl Ives in a film, you have to have him sing at least one song. Burl actually sang two songs in Summer Magic and both performances were really good! His first song “Ugly Bug Ball” not only featured music that reflected the story’s time period, but it also featured music that resembled when the film was released. Burl’s second song, “On the Front Porch”, as well as the rest of the music, felt like it belonged in the world of the early 1900s, when Summer Magic takes place. This helped the movie be immersive and bring this cinematic world to life.

 

The historical accuracy: Another aspect of Summer Magic that made the movie feel immersive was the historical accuracy of the overall production. For historical fiction stories, this aspect is so important because it provides a sense of authenticity. From the costumes to the architecture, everything seemed like it was brought back directly from that time period. Even things as simple as hairstyles helped the movie’s creative team realize their cinematic idea. Anytime I see a period film that appears and feels historically accurate, it gives me the impression the creative team behind that film not only knows what they’re doing, but that they care about the project they’re making. This is exactly how I felt about Summer Magic.

Note_lines_horizontal1
String of musical notes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/pentagram-vector_710290.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:

No “magic” and “mystery”: On the DVD cover for Summer Magic, the film’s tagline says “A Season Of Love, Music, And Mystery”. However, “magic” and “mystery” are nowhere to be found. Since The Moon-Spinners was created by the same studio as Summer Magic and since The Moon-Spinners was released the year after Summer Magic, I assumed the latter would have a mystery that was more light-hearted than the aforementioned title. Sadly, this plot didn’t leave any room for a mystery to be told. Even though this movie is called Summer Magic, there is no “magic” that is usually found in Disney films. When it comes to films from this particular studio, “magic” is not just coming from the things that happen on screen. It’s the way that the film makes an audience feel. For me, Summer Magic did not make me feel this way.

 

A basic plot: Because of what I just said, I thought there was going to be a mystery featured in this film’s plot. That didn’t happen, which caused the plot to be too basic for my liking. The story was also straight-forward, leaving no room for intrigue. Even when there was a chance for the narrative to have a sense of intrigue, those chances ended before they could begin. A perfect example is when Osh Popham was telling Nancy and her mother about the previous homeowner’s painting, only for his wife, Mariah, to confront him about his lie moments later.

 

Lack of musical numbers: For movie musicals, there’s, usually, at least one musical number. This scene will feature singing and dancing, but will also be presented as a grand spectacle. Summer Magic never had a scene like this. In fact, anytime a song was incorporated into the film, the characters would, mostly, sing the song while sitting down. Because Disney’s forte is musicals, I was quite surprised by the lack of musical numbers in this film. Since Mary Poppins was released the year after Summer Magic, I’m wondering if the first movie received more attention and financing from the studio, possibly viewing Summer Magic as an afterthought?

A Month Without the Code banner
A Month Without the Code Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/announcing-amonthwithoutthecode65/.

My overall impression:

As of August 2019, I have seen four of Hayley’s Mills films in their entirety. For the most part, I have enjoyed these movies. But, if I were to rank them, Summer Magic would be at the bottom of the list. That’s because the film itself was just ok. Since there was no “mystery” or “magic” in the story, the film’s plot wasn’t as intriguing as I hoped it would be. Despite the fact that the movie’s tagline promised that there would be music, it wasn’t a musical in the typical sense. But the film did have its merit, such as the acting and the historical accuracy of the project. It’s a film that I can’t fully recommend, but not completely dissuade people from seeing. Like I said about The Nun’s Story, Summer Magic is one of the “cleaner” films in A Month Without a Code! While there are a few things that would need to change, this film could be “breenable”. These things are:

 

  • There is some language in Summer Magic that would need to be rewritten or removed. This is because some of the words that the characters said were unpleasant. One example is when Nancy is trying to put up wallpaper in the house. When her mother expresses her doubts about whether Nancy is capable of completing the task on her own, Nancy makes a statement like “Any idiot can do it”.

 

  • There were three lines in the song, “Ugly Bug Ball”, that I was very surprised were featured in a Disney film. The lines are highlighted in bold print:

 

“Then our caterpillar saw a pretty queen

She was beautiful in yellow, black and green

He said, “Would you care to dance?”

Their dancing led to romance.

And she sat upon his caterpillar knees

And he gave his caterpillar queen a squeeze

Soon they’ll honeymoon

Build a big cocoon

Thanks to the ugly bug ball”

 

Because of how suggestive these lines sound, they would need to be written.

 

  • During the movie, Julia and Nancy develop a crush on Charles Bryant, a recent college graduate who comes to their small town as a school teacher. Julia admits that she completed “finishing school”, so I’m guessing she would be 17 or 18. Meanwhile, Nancy might be somewhere between 14 to 16. Since this is a Disney/family-friendly film, their interactions with him are innocent. But, the fact that two teenage girls would entertain the idea of falling in love with a grown man should not be in a family-friendly movie.

 

  • While Osh Popham is looking for a painting for give to Nancy’s family, he finds a picture of a scantily clad woman. When this painting is presented to the audience, jazz music can be heard in the background. If this film were created during the Breen Code era, this painting would not be shown on-screen. I don’t believe that the jazz music would be heard either.

 

Overall score: 6.3 out of 10

 

How are you enjoying my reviews for A Month Without the Code? Are you looking forward to my upcoming posts? Le me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Which Films from Fox are Disney Scrapping?

Yes, it’s been four months since I last posted a Word on the Street story. While looking through my Word on the Street posts from this year, I noticed that all of them were about Hallmark related projects. I don’t want to be a movie blogger that just talks about one thing. So, I took a short break to find interesting pieces of movie news that had nothing to do with Hallmark. Yesterday, I found a story that was quite fascinating. In a video from the Youtube channel, Clownfish TV, Kneon and Geeky Sparkles, the hosts of the video, talk about the various films from 20th Century Fox that Disney was planning on not greenlighting. Because Disney purchased the aforementioned studio, they inherited a lot of movie titles. Some of them hadn’t even gone into production yet. In this post, I will discuss these titles as well as my thoughts about them. Now, as the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”!

People creating film
People working on films image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

In a video titled “Disney CANCELS Fox Films! Blue Sky Studios Gets Disney ‘DISCIPLINE!’”, Kneon and Geeky Sparkles, two of the creators of the Youtube channel, Clownfish TV, discuss some of the Fox titles that Disney will not be developing, as well as the articles that reported them. The first title that Disney eliminated, according to Collider, is an animated film called “Mouse Guard”. I’m not familiar with this particular project or its source material. Kneon and Geeky, however, were more knowledgeable about the subject, even going so far as to share the film’s production status. Geeky states that “you cannot have a competing mouse”, indicating that the only mouse that’s worth Disney’s attention is their one and only, Mickey. If this were true, that would make the company look a little bit hypocritical, especially since they’ve created beloved characters that were also mice. Some examples are Gus and Jaq from Cinderella, Roquefort from The Aristocats, Bernard and Miss Bianca from The Rescuers, Jake from The Rescuers Down Under, and the cast of characters from The Great Mouse Detective. In another article that was featured in the video, this time from Screen Geek, Kneon and Geeky examine the short list of films that will, probably, never see the light of day. These titles are Flash Gordon, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Chronicle 2, McClane, The Sims Movie, Assassin’s Creed 2, Mega Man, and Magic: The Gathering. I’m, honestly, not heartbroken that these films got cancelled. Most of the projects on the list sound like unnecessary sequels or reboots/remakes. Even Geeky and Kneon weren’t that upset about these films being cancelled. This particular article featured a link to a Reddit page that listed even more movie titles, which Kneon and Geeky also talked about. The first section of the article listed films that had a chance of not getting scrapped. While looking through these titles, Geeky expressed interest in seeing the Zorro reboot, currently titled Z. In my opinion, none of the movies on this list sound intriguing enough to make me want to pay theater admission for them. The next section listed movie titles that were not getting eliminated. When Geeky and Kneon were looking through the list, Kneon had a feeling that a film titled Nimona would either get scrapped or be placed on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+. His reasoning was because the movie is, apparently, going to be animated by Blue Sky Animation, a division of Fox that Disney is disciplining (which, according to Kneon, means “budget cuts”). This is the first time I had heard about this project, so it’s not a title that I’m emotionally attached to.

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While searching through the extensive list of film titles on Reddit, there was one movie that I didn’t see in the article. Back in March, I participated in the Book Adaptation Tag. In that post, I said that one of the “book movies” I was looking forward to was Words on Bathroom Walls. According to IMDB, this film is in post-production. Based on the limited amount of information I was able to find, it doesn’t seem like this movie has a distributor yet. Despite this, the fact that Words on Bathroom Walls wasn’t even a part of the conversation was something I found surprising. If this specific movie were included on the list, I’m guessing that it would have been saved from cancellation due to its production status. Hopefully, Words on Bathroom Walls will get a distributor sooner rather than later.

 

What are your thoughts on this piece of movie news? Which movie would you want to save from being scrapped? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the sources that I referenced in this article, you can watch the video by visiting Clownfish TV’s Youtube channel or typing “Disney CANCELS Fox Films! Blue Sky Studios Gets Disney ‘DISCIPLINE!’” into Youtube’s search bar. The link to the Reddit article is in the video’s description. You can also visit  these links:

https://www.screengeek.net/2019/08/11/disney-fox-movies-cancelled/ (This article features a link to the movie list on Reddit)

http://collider.com/mouse-guard-movie-concept-art/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8045906/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_on_Bathroom_Walls