Sunset Over Hope Valley: Not As it Seems

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, March 26th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the 27th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

RE-POST: Choosing the Best Actress of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards

 

Taking things at face value is something that we’ve all done at least once in our lives. We judge a book by its cover, believe something for what it is, or quickly take someone else’s word. However, not everything is what it seems. False information may be passed along, providing opportunities for research and facts to come into play. Gossip and rumors can spread from ear to ear, but, more often than not, truth will prevail. Upon a second glance, looks can be deceiving. This episode of When Calls the Heart perfectly exemplifies everything I’ve just said. Several situations occur in Hope Valley that are easy to observe at face value. However, as you’ll read in this re-cap, the situations are not as they seem.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart 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=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 5

Name: An Unexpected Gift

 

Major Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Elizabeth discovers that a lot of Jack’s clothing doesn’t fit him anymore. When Rosemary comes by to collect the clothes for a fellow neighbor, she sees how disappointed Elizabeth is. In an effort to cheer her up, Rosemary decides to give Elizabeth a bouquet of flowers. The next day, when Rosemary arrives to give Elizabeth the flowers, she discovers that Elizabeth is not home. So, Rosemary places the flowers on the doorstep with no attached card. Elizabeth is pleasantly surprised to find the flowers. When Bill pays her a visit and notices the flowers, he suspects that Nathan or Lucas is the culprit. Elizabeth, however, doesn’t make a big deal about the gesture. In his spare time, Bill tells Nathan and Lucas about the flowers, hoping one of them will reveal their secret. Both Nathan and Lucas are caught off guard, as none of them gave Elizabeth the flowers. In town, where Molly and Elizabeth have a conversation about the flowers, Ally overhears what they are saying. She also wonders if Nathan truly gave the gift. At Clara’s Bachelorette party, Elizabeth spends time with both Nathan and Lucas. She tries to figure out which man is responsible for the flowers. To Elizabeth’s disappointment, none of them seem to have given the bouquet. After the party, Rosemary reveals the she was the one who gave Elizabeth the flowers in an attempt to make her feel better about Jack growing up. Elizabeth is relived by this because she’s afraid of the idea of Nathan or Lucas falling in love with her being real. Rosemary tells her that it’s ok to open up her heart again. At the end of the episode, both Nathan and Lucas give Elizabeth a bouquet of flowers.

 

Throughout the episode, Rosemary is busy planning Clara’s Bachelorette party and creating Clara’s wedding dress. Her to-do list causes Lee to rethink his ideas for Jesse’s Bachelor party. Later that day, he meets with the guests to determine what will work. During the meeting, Lucas shares that he let the guests of the Bachelorette party reserve half the saloon. He also says the saloon’s chef will make the food for the aforementioned party. Because of this, Bill volunteers to make the food, with the help of Nathan. On the day of the Bachelor party, Jesse reveals that he’s nervous about getting married. He says that he’s afraid he won’t be a good enough husband to Clara. Lee comforts Jesse by sharing his past insecurities and reminding Jesse that his love for Clara is all that matters. At the party, the men discover that they’re not having as good of a time as they thought. Mike suggests that both parties should combine to become one big party. Every guest ends up taking this suggestion. As a result, everyone has a better experience because they’re spending time together. Lee also admits that Rosemary is more talented when it comes to planning events.

Lots of hydrangeas, roses and pinks make a colorful wall
Bunch of flowers image created by V.ivash at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/landscape-bow-bouquet-gift-outdoor_1150128.htm’>Designed by V.ivash</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flower”>Flower image created by V.ivash – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Before she left for medical school, Faith hired Molly as the Infirmary’s secretary. This decision was made in an effort to help Carson with day-to-day duties. While Faith had good intentions, they lead to undesirable results. Molly creates appointment schedules without informing Carson, she diagnoses patients with no medical context, and she assumes the worst with her own health. All of this becomes too overwhelming for Carson. One day, he tells Molly not to diagnose patients without his knowledge. At first, it seems like Molly understands what Carson is saying. But, at Jesse and Clara’s party, Carson realizes that Mollie’s feelings are hurt. Florence tells Carson that Molly’s secretary job is the first full-time job she’s had in a long time. This fact makes Carson see how important this job is to Molly. When talking with Carson, at the party, Molly shares her medical concerns. Carson tells her that, sometimes, people can get carried away with certain medical terms and conditions. He also admits that he should have taken a gentler approach to the situation. As Molly continues to work at the Infirmary, it seems like she and Carson have gained a better understanding of each other.

 

Because she misses her ride to the city, Fiona asks Henry if she can borrow his car. She tells him she needs to go to Benson Hills to pick up parts for Bill’s phone. After getting his permission, Fiona is on her way to the city. Just as she’s about to leave, Rosemary asks her if they can carpool to Benson Hills. Rosemary says that she also has to go to the city so she can pick up material for Clara’s dress. After agreeing to take her, Fiona and Rosemary start their journey to Benson Hills. Later in the episode, Fiona and Rosemary are on their way back home. However, their trip is interrupted when they experience car trouble. While figuring out what to do, Rosemary recruits the help of a nearby neighbor. When the neighbor arrives, he helps Fiona take the car to Kevin, while Rosemary takes the dress material and heads to the dress shop. Back in Hope Valley, Kevin tries to help Fiona fix Henry’s car. However, his vehicle knowledge is very limited. Later that night, they arrive at Jesse and Clara’s party. While there, Henry asks Fiona where his car is. She tells him that it got dirty on the way home, so she wanted to clean it before giving it back to him. Henry tells her that he needs the car tomorrow in order to go to a meeting. The next day, when returning the car to Henry, Kevin and Fiona confess that the car is broken due to yesterday’s events. After dealing with the brakes, Henry reveals that the car isn’t broken, but sometimes experiences brake related issues.

Sewing color background
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Some thoughts to consider:

  • In this episode, Clara’s dress isn’t revealed to the audience. Even in the commercial for the next episode, only a part of her dress is shown. I like how the show’s creative team is intentionally waiting until the wedding to show Clara’s dress. It creates a shared experience for the audience and the characters, as most of the characters are going to see the dress for the first time at the wedding. It also reminds me of Marrying Father Christmas, when Miranda’s dress wasn’t revealed until the wedding ceremony.

 

  • Speaking of the commercial for the next episode, the footage made it look like Jesse and Clara’s wedding will take place indoors. If this is the case, I would be disappointed. Hearties have never seen an outdoor wedding on the show before, so this would be When Calls the Heart history in the making. If the wedding takes place indoors and if the writers knew that was going to happen that far in advance, then why didn’t Jesse and Clara receive a Christmas wedding in the first place?

 

  • I know that a lot of fans are invested in the love triangle that is taking place on the show. However, I’m personally not a fan of it. In stories, I find love triangles to be a waste of time and creative energy. Nathan and Lucas trying to win over Elizabeth’s heart has gone on for too long, lasting a season and a half. Honestly, I hope this gets resolved soon so the writers can move on to a different story.
Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

 

What did you think of this of this episode? Can you believe we’re already halfway through season seven? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Over the Edge Review (Youth-Led Film Double Feature Part 2)

Welcome to the second part of my Youth-Led Film Double Feature! This review will contain spoilers and here are the links to the double feature’s introduction and the first part:

Introducing My Youth-Led Film Double Feature!

Take 3: Rich Kids Review (Youth-Led Film Double Feature Part 1)

Over the Edge poster
Over the Edge poster created by Orion Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Over_the_Edge_(1979)_poster.jpg

1. In your double feature’s introduction, you mentioned the fact both Rich Kids and Over the Edge were released in 1979. Is there anything from this time period that could have influenced these films?

At the beginning of the movie, a series of text appeared on the screen. This text stated that Over the Edge was based on true events. According to this part of the film, 110,000 youth under the age of 18 were arrested for crimes of vandalism in 1978. Also, the text revealed that one growing suburban community had young people under the age of 15 represent about a third of its population. Because of this, neighborhood planners/developers were having difficulty finding a way to deal with the situation. These true events not only influenced the film’s creation, but also gave it a reason to exist.

 

2. In this introduction, you also said you “had never heard of Over the Edge before” you saw Siskel and Ebert’s review. Why do you think this film has gotten very little recognition compared to other films from the ‘70s?

From the way I see it, cinema in the 1970s was about telling stories and doing things on film that had never been done before. Take, for instance, Star Wars: A New Hope and Jaws. Both of those films tested the limits of technology, through the use of animatronics and special effects. The contributions to cinema that were made through these two films helped them become products to remember and stand the test of time. Over the Edge, on the other hand, doesn’t really seem to break any new ground. Movies about youth were not a newer concept at this time. Also, this film had a story that was more grounded in reality. This is different from the previous two films I mentioned, Star Wars: A New Hope and Jaws, that focused on spectacle and creating a sense of escapism for their audience.

 

3. Do the socio-economics of each film’s world affect the characters or the story?

When it comes to Over the Edge, no. It doesn’t. Honestly, money and economic status are barely brought up in this film. Similar to Rich Kids, the primary focus was placed on the characters and how they reacted to and dealt with their problems. Giving these characters a sense of realism was more important to this creative team than talking about dollars and cents.

 

4. Do you agree or disagree with Siskel and/or Ebert’s views on these films? Why?

There are a few points both Siskel and Ebert make in their review of Over the Edge that I disagree with. When talking about this film, Ebert shared his disappointment over the movie’s “Hollywood ending” which involves “a big, explosive climax” where the kids of the neighborhood lock the adults inside of their school while they cause a night of chaos. I disagree with Ebert’s view on this third act because, to me, it didn’t feel like an ending you’d find in most blockbusters. While explosions made those scenes look visually interesting, I believe the purpose of those scenes are meant to show how bad a situation can get when the discovery of a solution is prolonged.

 

Once again, Siskel calls the parents in Over the Edge “a bunch of boobs”. And, once again, I would go so far as to say that these parents are uninvolved in the lives of their children. Throughout the story, they are so wrapped up in their own issues, that they don’t take the time to listen to and understand their children. Sure, there’s one scene where Richie White has a conversation with his mom during a car ride home. But this scene is brief and the conversation is short. In this review, Siskel also makes the argument that the film’s central message is how the country needs more recreational facilities. My counter-argument is how the film’s message is almost the same as the one in Rich Kids: if young people don’t receive guidance from a parent, guardian, or mentor figure, they are going to find it elsewhere.

 

5. When it comes to both films, Siskel and Ebert agreed on their views of the adult characters in each story. Did these characters have any significance within their respective movie?

Like I said in my Rich Kids review, the lack of involvement from the parents shows just how much they’re needed in their children’s lives. During the film’s third act, at a meeting in the neighborhood’s school, the adults are trying to figure out the reason behind the recent crimes. Teachers, parents, and even the teen center counselor are blamed for Richie White’s death as well as the poor choices of the youth. What this scene does is highlight my point perfectly. It also shows how they all could have done more to help the youth in their community.

Mountain Road Colorado
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6. Besides having young actors as the leads, do these films share any similarities?

One major aspect of this story was how the young characters stuck together and found more trust in each other than in the adults. In Rich Kids, Franny and Jamie were able to help each other deal with their parents’ divorce. For Over the Edge, these characters faced more than one issue, from the death of one of their peers to the changes in their neighborhood. Like Jamie and Franny, the young characters in Over the Edge try the best they can to figure everything out. They do this by talking to each other about their problems and creating their own ideas of “fun”.

 

7. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

While I came up with several thoughts and questions while watching Over the Edge, I’ll share just one question and one thought in this review. As I said in answer number four, the children lock the adults inside their school. The room where the adults are in, the auditorium, is located near the main entrance. This main entrance features double doors that have glass windows. Why didn’t anyone think of trying to break the windows in order to escape? To me, this decision not to was baffling, especially since there was a police officer among the group of adults.

 

Speaking of when the children lock the adults in the school, I saw something among those scenes that made me think about a potential plot twist. While the children are causing chaos, one boy is seen riding Richie’s bicycle. For a moment, I thought the script would pull off a plot twist where Richie ended up being alive and had just escaped police custody. However, that’s not the direction the story chose to take.

 

8. Is there anything about this movie that you liked or didn’t like?

Similar to Rich Kids, I thought the acting was one of the strongest parts of this film! Since the majority of this cast was made up of young actors and actresses, they proved they had what it took, talent wise, to carry a movie. One of the standout performances came from Michael Kramer, who portrayed Carl Willat. A memorable scene was when Carl was on the phone with one of his friends, curious about what happened to Richie. When he discovers that Richie died, Carl’s face quickly changes from genuine curiosity to being on the verge of tears.

 

Even though I liked the acting in this film, I think the character development could have been stronger. While I got to know the characters, I feel like I could’ve gotten to know them better. There was always this invisible distance between the characters and the audience. Things they said or did left me with unanswered questions. In the end, this aspect of the movie left more to be desired.

 

9. Is there any aspect of either film that could be seen as relevant today?

Throughout the film, the idea of actions leading to consequences was an overarching part of this story. One example is when Richie and Carl decide to run away. They steal Richie’s mom’s car and drive without a license or permit. They also carry a gun with them. As a result of these actions, Carl develops a juvenile record and Richie is killed in self-defense. The idea that I just mentioned reminds the audience of the importance of thinking before acting and accountability.

 

10. After watching Over the Edge, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?

In my opinion, a documentary about the events that inspired this movie would have been more interesting than the movie ended up being. It would be fascinating to hear from multiple perspectives and discover how their lives have changed since then. As for Over the Edge, it seems like the creative team tried to make an elaborate speech out of a simple message. While it can be thought-provoking to a certain extent, it doesn’t really try to do anything new. Over the Edge had so much going on, but at the same time had nothing happening at all.

Sticker design for different generation kids
’70s kid image created by brgfx at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by brgfx – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Rich Kids Review (Youth-Led Film Double Feature Part 1)

Welcome to the first part of my Youth-Led Film Double Feature! This review will contain spoilers and here is the link to the double feature’s introduction:

Introducing My Youth-Led Film Double Feature!

Rich Kids poster
Rich Kids poster created by Lion’s Gate Films and United Artists. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rich_Kids_(film).jpg

1. In your double feature’s introduction, you mentioned the fact both Rich Kids and Over the Edge were released in 1979. Is there anything from this time period that could have influenced these films?

The film, Rich Kids, explores how wealth does not make an individual or a family invincible, as well as how money does not solve every problem. These morals can also be found within the Getty kidnapping case, which was showcased in the movie, All the Money in the World. Wealth could not prevent John Paul Getty III’s parents from divorcing or experiencing personal conflicts. Money doesn’t take away the trauma John Paul Getty III likely dealt with as a result of the kidnapping incident. Because this situation took place on July 10th, 1973, six years before the premiere of Rich Kids, I would guess the creative team behind Rich Kids absorbed these messages, contemplated on their importance, and wove a fictional, dramatic story around them.

 

2. In this introduction, you also mentioned how you originally thought Rich Kids “was a documentary style film about a group of rich kids growing up over a period of time”. Despite being different than what you expected, were you able to find some enjoyment in this film?

Rich Kids is a character-driven character study. When a film’s creative team decides to adopt this kind of story-telling, it’s important they create a cast of characters that the audience wants to spend their time with. Because these characters were well acted and written, it encouraged me to stay invested in their stories and journeys. In my opinion, I think it’s better that Rich Kids wasn’t the story I was expecting. Since this group of characters was smaller, it allowed the audience to not only become familiar with them, but to also truly know them. Had this film been about a group of children over the course of several years, it might have felt like they were competing against each other for attention.

 

3. Do the socio-economics of each film’s world affect the characters or the story?

While there was wealth being flaunted within this film, it didn’t happen as often as I thought it would. Rich Kids’ creative team places the wealth in the story to simply show it exists. But their primary focus is to present their characters as human, flawed, and inexperienced in life. When Franny visits Jamie at his father’s apartment for the first time, she is entranced by the magnificence of its existence. Even though she questions the cost of everything within that environment, her initial reaction is representative of how most people would react when entering a fantastical looking space. In reality, the characters influence the wealth, not the other way around.

 

4. Do you agree or disagree with Siskel and/or Ebert’s views on these films? Why?

In their review of Rich Kids, both Siskel and Ebert agree that the overall film should have kept its focus on the children. I second these opinions, as I found Franny and Jamie’s story to be more interesting than those of the adults. Because the divorce of Franny’s parents was inevitable and because Jamie’s parents were already divorced, there was no sense of intrigue from that part of the script. However, I do disagree with Siskel and Ebert on their views of the adults in this film. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “boobs” (Gene’s words, not mine), but I would say they are uninvolved in the lives of their children. They are so caught up in their own problems and stress, that they easily and quickly lose sight of what is really important.

 

5. When it comes to both films, Siskel and Ebert agreed on their views of the adult characters in each story. Did these characters have any significance within their respective movie?

As I said in answer number four, these adults were so caught up in their own issues, that they lost focus on their most important priorities. This part of the story highlighted the importance of young people having a parent, guardian, or mentor that maintains a healthy amount of involvement in their lives. Because these adults weren’t involved in the lives of their children, both Franny and Jamie lacked the guidance that they desperately needed. They ended up finding guidance and life lessons elsewhere.

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6. Besides having young actors as the leads, do these films share any similarities?

I haven’t seen Over the Edge yet, but based on Siskel and Ebert’s review of that movie, I can confidently say that one similarity between these films is the frustration the young protagonists feel about not being heard or understood by the adults. In one conversation, Franny tells Jamie how they have few rights because of their young ages. This statement makes them feel powerless and limited in their abilities and resources. Both Franny and Jamie are twelve years old, an age when most adolescents want to be seen less as children and hope to achieve a little more independence. Through their behavior and choices, these aspects of growing up are incorporated in Franny and Jamie’s story, as they are trying to form their own identities.

 

7. Did you develop any thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

I don’t have any questions, but I did come up with two thoughts while watching Rich Kids. The first is how I loved the set design of Jamie’s dad’s apartment! From the tropical inspired oasis which is the first room characters encounter to the eccentric and eye-catching media room, these sets were both imaginative and impressively caught on film. My second thought revolves around the psychological well-being of the children. During one conversation, Franny confesses to Jamie that she named her dog after an imaginary world she created in her mind. The more she visits Jamie at his dad’s apartment, the more she uses that space to materialize her imaginary world. Later in the film, Franny shares with Jamie that prior to the start of their friendship, she lost her sister due to medical issues. I wish this script would have left some room to talk about how divorce and even a death in the family can affect a child’s psychological state, especially since Jamie’s stepdad was a psychologist. But I guess there’s only so much you can do in an hour and thirty-six minutes.

 

8. Is there anything about this movie that you liked or didn’t like?

Like I said in answer number two, I thought the characters were well acted and written. Because of these components, it felt like the audience took a glimpse into the lives of real-life people. This script also gave these characters a chance to come across as relatable. As Ebert said in the Rich Kids review, the conversations of the children “have a ring of truth to them”. I feel this way not just with Franny and Jamie’s conversations, but with every person in this project. The characters and their journeys were one of the strongest parts of this film!

 

As for what I didn’t like about this movie, I was not a fan of how Franny’s parents didn’t explore other options before deciding to get a divorce. At one moment in the film, Franny’s father’s lawyer suggests that Franny’s parents attend marriage counseling. They don’t even bother thinking that idea over and choose to treat divorce as the “end all, be all” of their problems. Like I’ve said on more than one occasion, I feel that ending a romantic relationship is a decision that shouldn’t be chosen lightly, especially if children or those who are dependent on the couple are involved. While this story is about how children deal with divorce, I think Franny’s parents should have discussed other options first.

 

9. Is there any aspect of either film that could be seen as relevant today?

An overarching theme that I noticed in this movie was the idea of knowing you’re not alone when dealing with a serious issue. Throughout their relationship, Jamie helps Franny deal with her parents’ inevitable divorce. Because his parents divorced prior to the start of their friendship, Jamie is able to use his experiences to show Franny that she is not the only one who has traveled down that road. They both become a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear for each other. This idea is definitely just as relevant in 2020 as it was in 1979.

 

10. After watching Rich Kids, is there anything you can take away from your movie viewing experience?

The biggest takeaway for me is how everyone experiences hardship, no matter who you are or what your economic status is. But as Rafiki from 1994’s The Lion King said, “you can either run from it, or learn from it”. In Rich Kids, Franny and Jamie try to handle their problems the best they realistically can. They do this by relying on one another and providing insight when necessary. Because of this, they are able to temporarily escape their issues and build a lasting friendship.

exploding heart 0912
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Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Au revoir les enfants Review + 165 & 170 Follower Thank You

At the beginning of the month, my blog received 165 followers! While I was figuring out which movie I would review, I was creating a new blogging schedule for myself. Several days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received its 170th follower! So, for this blog follower dedication review, I decided to write about one movie while acknowledging both milestones. I chose to talk about a French film called Au revoir les enfants! Foreign films are rarely talked about when it comes to these specific reviews. In fact, the first one I discussed was Vampyr last October. Au revoir les enfants has also been on my DVR since last February. So, I thought these reasons would be a good excuse to finally watch this film! While Vampyr is a French and German production, I have reviewed a French film on this blog before. For Clean Movie Month, I talked about the 1950 project, Les Enfants Terribles. Will my thoughts on Au revoir les enfants be similar to those on the aforementioned French film I reviewed last year? You’ll just have to read this post if you want to find the answer!

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I chose to use this poster for the review because it verifies that I, indeed, watched this film. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Movies that have young actors make up the majority of the cast can be hit-or-miss. In the case of Au revoir les enfants, this aspect worked in the film’s favor! All of the young actors were not only allowed to act their age, but they were able to work alongside other actors within their age group. This made their performances feel genuine and realistic. Speaking of realism, I noticed that all of the character portrayals and the situations showcased in the movie appeared like it came directly from real-life. It gave these elements a sense of authenticity. Because this film is based on a true story, the creative team’s focus on making the characters and situations look and feel believable seemed to be taken very seriously.

 

The historical accuracy: This film takes place in early 1944. Because of this, all of the material elements of the project looked like it came directly from that period in time. The wardrobe of all the characters feature articles of clothing that one would likely find within the mid ‘40s. The architecture of the boarding school shows off the preserved interior and exterior style from an era gone by. Even the finer details of the picture, such as the books, feel like relics of that specific year. While watching this film, I noticed the way the characters spoke also reflected the time period. Whenever subjects related to World War II were brought up, it was done in a very subtle way. Even though this was a period film, I never felt like I was being talked down to or like the movie was treating itself like a history lesson. If anything, I felt like I was watching a moment in time.

 

The presentation of the subtitles: How the subtitles are presented in foreign films is very important. If they can be seen clearly, it allows the audience to better understand what the characters are saying. I liked how the subtitles were showcased in Au revoir les enfants! While all of the text was white, it was presented against backgrounds that were dark in hue. The very first scene in the movie is a great example of this. The station and train itself adopted colors of black and gray. None of the characters in this scene wore bright colors. Because of this creative decision, I never had a difficult time reading the subtitles.

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What I didn’t like the film:

A weak plot: The more movies I watch, the more I realize that “slice of life” stories aren’t my thing. That’s because I don’t find them to be as intriguing as other cinematic stories. That’s what the majority of Au revoir les enfants is: a “slice of life” story. To me, it didn’t contain as much interest as it could have. It felt like the screenwriter put so much emphasis on the premise of Julien and Jean’s relationship, that there was nothing else to offer in the narrative.

 

A somewhat mis-leading premise: In the synopsis I read for this movie, it said the film was about a Catholic boy and a Jewish boy becoming friends during World War II. However, the friendship aspect of their relationship isn’t portrayed until about the last twenty minutes of the film. Julien and Jean spend most of the movie apart than together. In fact, Julien starts off not liking Jean as a person. Julien does become nicer to Jean as the film progresses. When this does happen, it just makes them seem like acquaintances more than anything.

 

Situations being shown, but not explained: Throughout Au revoir les enfants, there are situations shown on screen that aren’t given explanations. One example is when Julien pokes his hand with a compass. As he is doing this, he tells the classmate sitting next to him how it doesn’t hurt. Not only was this action never explained, but it’s never referenced again in the movie. Julien’s action didn’t seem to serve a purpose for his character development or the overall narrative. Moments like this one happened at several moments in the film and I found myself being frustrating by them.

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Illustration of Paris, France created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/travel”>Travel vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Before I share my final thoughts on this film, I want to thank each and every one of the followers! 18 Cinema Lane would not be the success it is today without you. Now, on to my overall impression of Au revoir les enfants! Personally, I thought it was just ok. The movie does have merits that are earned, as well as a plot twist that works. But the overall project could have been stronger. As I mentioned in my review, Au revoir les enfants is based on a true story. It felt like the creative team approached the narrative as respectfully as possible. Because the creation of the movie was handled with a sense of reverence, it allowed the film to have the emotional weight it contained. The realism of the acting and writing gave me a reason to stay invested in what the characters were saying and doing. I’m not often given opportunities to watch and review French films. However, I’m glad I chosen this movie for my latest blog follower dedication review!

 

Overall score: 6.1 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on my review? Are there any French films you’d like to see me review? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Dora and the Lost City of Gold Review

Originally, I was going to post my review for December’s Genre Grandeur. But, yesterday, I ended up watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. So, I decided to review this movie instead. I’ll still publish my Genre Grander review, but it will appear on 18 Cinema Lane sometime this week. As I’ve said in two Word on the Street stories, Dora and the Lost City of Gold made Paramount, the film’s respective studio, lose money. One possible explanation lies in the movie’s less-than-stellar marketing campaign. Like a lot of people, I was not a fan of the film’s official trailer. To me, it felt like the studio didn’t understand the source material they were working with, similar to projects like Jem and the Holograms. This caused me not to see the movie in theaters. When I chose to rent it yesterday, I realized that the only theatrically released film from 2019 I reviewed was Avengers: Endgame. It became one of the reasons why I wanted to review Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Prior to watching this film, I have seen a few episodes of Dora the Explorer. But I don’t have fond memories of it like other people do. Let’s wrap this introduction up so we can go on a movie review adventure!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold poster
Dora and the Lost City of Gold poster created by Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players, Nickelodeon Movies, Walden Media, Media Rights Capital, and Burr! Productions. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dora_and_the_Lost_City_of_Gold_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was pleasantly surprised by the acting performances in this film! I was familiar with who Isabela Moner was, as an actress, prior to watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. This is because I have heard she starred in the 2017 film, Transformers: The Last Knight. She did a fantastic job at bringing the iconic Nickelodeon character to life! With a cheerful personality and a sunny disposition, Isabela helped carry this film with a well-rounded performance. Another memorable performance came from Madeleine Madden! In this film, she portrayed Sammy, a fellow classmate of Dora’s. Madeleine brought versatility to her role, allowing her character’s transformation to feel believable. Madeleine’s on-screen interactions with her co-stars also helped this transformation, showing that those with leadership qualities can also be contributing team members. Speaking of team members, Eugenio Derbez gave a stand-out performance as Alejandro. While portraying this character, he provided a balance of comedic and dramatic acting. Incorporating these two different types of acting is not an easy thing to do. However, Eugenio flawlessly pulled this off in his performance!

 

The scenery: For most of the film, the jungle provided scenery for this project. It helped make scenes involving this location visually appealing. The natural beauty of the jungle is captured well on film, allowing for the foliage to stand out and even compliment the movie. Within the jungle, there were structures that represented long abandoned places. It’s likely that these were constructed sets for the movie, but they looked very authentic. One great example is when Dora and her group encounter an ancient aqueduct. Because this location was shown above water and was also immersed in it, it shows the audience the original purpose of this structure and its place in history. This shows that the film’s creative team tried to make their film showcase this location as more than just a pretty place.

 

The messages and themes: At the beginning of the film, Dora’s father tells her that she should strive to be an explorer, not a treasure hunter. This piece of advice is a new take on the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination”. But it also opens the door to several important themes. The ideas of sharing a unique experience, friendship, and teamwork come directly from the aforementioned advice. These themes are shown through actions instead of just said through words. They also have a shareability among audience members of all ages. The film’s messages and themes were one of the strongest parts of the movie, as it was executed well throughout the script.

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Pink travel backpack image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/travel-lettering-with-watercolor-pink-backpack_2686676.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Some of the CGI: For the most part, the CGI in Dora and the Lost City of Gold looked really good. However, there were some instances when the CGI looked poor. One example is when Dora is petting a baby alligator. If you look closely, you can tell where the animation was inserted into the scene. To me, this appeared off-putting, like the image of the alligator didn’t blend with the rest of the shot. While the encounters with poor CGI were few, I still was not a fan of that.

 

The jokes dragging on for a little too long: I found some of the jokes in this movie to be genuinely funny. But other jokes went on for a little too long. Just one example is when Dora’s father is imitating the sounds of techno music. This joke had the potential to be hilarious, but the length of the joke’s time ruined it for me. Had a few seconds of this joke been cut, it would have helped it reach the punch-line a lot sooner.

 

A somewhat confusing climax: I won’t spoil Dora and the Lost City of Gold if you haven’t seen it. But I will say that I found the climax to be somewhat confusing. This is because of two reasons. The first one is how some things are shown and talked about without being given an explanation. The second is how other things aren’t referenced before and/or after the climax. This made it difficult for me to remain fully invested in what was happening on screen.

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Image of jungle/rainforest created by freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree photo created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

In the introduction of this review, I speculated that Dora and the Lost City of Gold became a box office failure due to a less-than-stellar marketing campaign. I find this to be a shame because the movie is better than I expected. Unlike what the trailer made me believe, the studio not only cared about the source material, but it seems like they tried their best to elevate it as well. The movie also has more heart than any of the marketing let on, providing messages and themes that can be revisited long after the movie is over. Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not one of my favorite movies of the year, but it definitely is a memorable one. I kind of feel bad that I didn’t give this film a chance sooner. However, I’m glad that I gave it a chance at all.

 

Overall score: 7.6 out of 10

 

Have you seen any theatrically released films from 2019? Has there ever a movie that you regretted not seeing in theaters? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

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

On the weekend of April 27th, Avengers: Endgame was not the only movie that premiered. While I did give a little more priority to Marvel’s latest film, I also wanted to see the new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Love Takes Flight. To give both films the attention they deserve, I decided to publish my spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame on the 27th and my review of Love Takes Flight today. When I found out about this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie last month, I knew that this was a movie that I had to review. Last year, I reviewed both of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s movies, with those reviews being well-received. However, when I learned more about this year’s film, I started to have doubts about it. It also didn’t help that Love Takes Flight was given one of the worst marketing campaigns in Hallmark movie history. In my opinion, the film’s poster looked worse than the one for The Beach House and Love Takes Flight’s trailer looked like a haphazard and rushed tv spot. However, I still wanted to give this film a chance. Last year, I wasn’t impressed with the marketing for The Beach House. But the movie itself ended up being better than its marketing campaign. Keep reading this review if you want to find out if Love Takes Flight had a similar fate.

Hallmark Hall of Fame's Love Takes Flight review
Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Takes Flight 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=Love+Takes+Flight.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: In Love Takes Flight, the acting was the driving force of this story! All of the acting performances felt so believable, that every character appeared as if they were real-life individuals experiencing realistic situations! Even though I had my doubts about Nikki’s incorporation in this cast, she proved me wrong by bringing the emotional versatility that is usually required for Hallmark Hall of Fame projects. In fact, she was one of the strongest actors in this film! Another actor that I was impressed with was Tom Thon. His portrayal of Walter Allen was emotionally effective, as his journey throughout this film seemed very believable. Tom’s acting talents brought some depth to his character’s narrative.

 

  • The scenery: Love Takes Flight was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, the third Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in a row to be filmed in the Peach State. The natural landscape of this location was showcased really well throughout the film. The foliage of the trees, flowers, and plants added a serene feeling to the overall atmosphere. This helped the story maintain its sincerity and thoughtfulness, as the natural surroundings brought a sense of peace when it seemed like the characters needed it the most. Walter’s property was absolutely gorgeous, its on-screen presence reminding me of architecture of past Hallmark Hall of Fame films! While the house itself was very cozy and elegant at the same time, the grounds surrounding the house are a scene stealer! The waterfront appeared so peaceful, complimenting some of the emotional moments that took place in that area. The creative team behind this movie made the right decision to choose Savannah as their filming location!

 

  • The exploration of grief: In some Hallmark movies, the protagonist or someone that the protagonist knows loses a loved one. However, because movies on Hallmark Channel are primarily light-hearted, the topic of grief is briefly touched upon. Since Hallmark Hall of Fame is historically known for addressing topics that are darker and more serious, the creative team behind this movie used this to their advantage to explore the concept of grief. In Love Takes Flight, Walter was dealing with the loss of his wife. The way this narrative was written made it feel like a story that would have been incorporated into Hallmark Hall of Fame movies from years past. The story of Walter and the protagonist’s daughter, Quinn, forming a friendship was a very thoughtful and interesting way to show how one moves forward from such a saddening situation.
Delivery Stickers Set
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What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The editing: While watching this movie, I noticed that some scenes felt shorter than others. When these scenes would play out, they ended a little too abruptly. As I wondered why this was happening, I realized that this had to do with the film’s editing. To solve this problem, each scene should have run their course and been at an equal length. That way, every part of the story could have had a chance to be developed.

 

  • A little too predictable: When it comes to Hallmark Channel movies, the story is inevitably going to be predictable. However, Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are meant to be separate from the typical Hallmark Channel material. In Love Takes Flight, there were a few plot elements that were more predictable than I’d hoped. Because of this, it blurred that line between Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In some of these moments, it made the movie feel like a glorified Hallmark Channel film.

 

  • Too many plots: Love Takes Flight had seven plots that played out throughout the story. While some of these plots were well explored, other plots were undeveloped. As I watched this film, I felt that at least two or three of these plots could have cut from the overall narrative. I think that this movie should have had one main plot with two or three subplots. While this main plot is played out, the subplots could be equally developed.
PaperPlane-01
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My overall impression:

Despite the poor marketing campaign that was given to this movie, Love Takes Flight was a good film! Yes, there were things about the project that could have been better. But, for what it was, I found the movie to be enjoyable. Once again, Hallmark Hall of Fame has had a consistent track record, since 2017, of creating films that are good. While I would like the films to become consistently great, I realize that it’ll take time for this to happen. I have a feeling that this can come to fruition one day. But the most important thing is that Hallmark is making the right steps for this to occur. Just like last year, the next movie for Hallmark Hall of Fame wasn’t advertised during the end credit commercial after the film. But whatever that film is going to be about, I just hope that it can take the Hallmark Hall of Fame to a whole new level.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen Love Takes Flight? What would you like the next Hallmark Hall of Fame movie to be about? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Friends Lead to Opportunities

Friendship has always played a huge role on When Calls the Heart. Sometimes, strangers and new individuals have gone on to become familiar faces and even favorite characters. While watching this episode, I noticed that friendship was an over-arching theme within this story. When Henry told Abigail about friends leading to opportunities, I realized that he had a good point. Without friends, there are so many experiences and memories that we would miss out on. Friends can also help us grow as individuals and become better people. In the show, the friends in Hope Valley have gone through a lot. But, in the end, they’ve acquired so many memories and opportunities along the way. Because of the friendships they gained over the course of the show, the characters on When Calls the Heart have evolved as time has gone by. Speaking of friends, let’s revisit our friends in Hope Valley in this week’s re-cap!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart season 6 poster
When Calls the Heart 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=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%206&episodeIndex=6001.

Season: 6

Episode: 3

Name: A Vote of Confidence

 

Major Story:

  • After hearing complaints from her neighbors about the saloon’s noise, Abigail approaches Lucas about the issue. She explains that the reason why people are upset about the noise is because, in the past, the saloon closed at 10 o’clock. Lucas tells Abigail that he will keep an eye on his business, especially during non-busy business days. The next day, the noise at the saloon is so loud, that it wakes up Cody. This causes Abigail to visit Lucas at the saloon. When she asks him why he went back on his word, he says that he’s doing exactly what he told her he would do. Because business was busy that night, it caused Lucas to keep the saloon open late. Fed up with this problem, Abigail decides to use her power as mayor to organize a town council meeting regarding this issue. When the meeting finally arrives, the townspeople have a chance to vote for a new business plan that requires all businesses to close at 10 o’clock. However, the vote ends up in a tie. As Abigail’s turn to vote comes up, she chooses to create a compromise with Lucas. She suggests that the saloon stay open late for only two days a week. Not only does Lucas accept this compromise, but this decision makes everyone involved, including Lucas, very happy.
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Minor Stories:

  • Toward the beginning of this episode, Bill goes to Cape Fullerton to testify against two deadly gun-men. However, once he arrives in Cape Fullerton, Bill discovers from the prosecutor that both gun-men have been recently released due to a lack of evidence. When Bill visits the judge, he learns that the judge was threatened by the gun-men, which caused him to release both criminals. Bill’s course of action is to visit his friend, Jeremiah, and ask for help in catching these criminals. When he arrives at Jeremiah’s house, Bill is met with skepticism and doubt from his friend. But, after some convincing, Jeremiah finally agrees to help Bill. During their journey to search for the gun-men, Jeremiah leads Bill to a short-cut, even though he claims he has never seen it himself. But he feels that this short-cut is through an abandoned mine. While in the mine, Jeremiah and Bill’s path is blocked and they become lost. As they search for a way out of the mine, Jeremiah shares with Bill about how he has been haunted by a past mission gone wrong. Bill reassures his friend that the criminal that escaped in the aforementioned mission was caught four months later. This reassurance gives Jeremiah the confidence to find their way out of the mine. Once they leave the mine, Bill and Jeremiah spot the two gun-men they were looking for. Bill decides to confront the criminals by himself, while Jeremiah stays by the mine. This plan proves to be a bad idea as a third gun-man suddenly emerges from the forest. Fourtunately, Jeremiah arrives just in time, knocking out the third gun-man in order to protect Bill. After this eventful confrontation, Jeremiah returns home and Bill brings the gun-men to prison.

 

  • After learning about explorers in school, Cody, Robert, and Timmy become interested in pirates. At recess, Cody and Robert pretend to be pirates looking for treasure. Timmy wants to join in on the fun, but gets stuck creating “waves” by throwing water at their make-shift boat. A few days later, at recess, Timmy brings his spy-glass to school and shows it to Robert and Cody. This not only excites them, but this allows Timmy to join their game. After school, Timmy discovers that his spy-glass is missing. When he asks Robert and Cody about the whereabouts of his prized possession, they say that they probably left it by their boat. This causes Timmy to look for the spy-glass all by himself. While riding her horse, Elizabeth sees Timmy searching for his spy-glass. As Timmy tells her his situation, she says that Cody and Robert should be helping him look for his spy-glass. She also gives him the advice to be honest with his friends and tell them how he feels. The next day, at recess, Timmy tells Cody and Robert how upset he is that they wouldn’t help him look for his spy-glass. He also says that all he wants is to be their friend. Moments later, Cody and Robert encourage their entire class to help Timmy look for his spy-glass.

 

  • Days after the saloon re-opening, Faith tells Rosemary exactly what Carson told her. Rosemary tells her that because certain words can mean a variety of things, she needs to make her feelings toward Carson clearer when addressing this matter. Meanwhile, at the saw mill, Carson tells Lee exactly what Faith told him at the saloon re-opening. Lee tells Carson that he needs to be more honest about his feelings toward Faith. As the days go on, both Faith and Carson make it clear that they want to honest with each other, but are not yet ready to address their feelings. Finally, Carson tells Faith exactly how he feels. However, Faith is afraid of starting a relationship with Carson, especially after hearing from Rosemary that relationships between two co-workers don’t always work out. A few days later, Carson tells Faith that they have to visit a patient during a house call. While on their way to the patient’s house, Faith finally shares her feelings about Carson to him. She also says that she wants to start relationship with him. After they kiss, Carson reveals that they weren’t going on a house call, but on a picnic instead.
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Some thoughts to consider:

  • When Elizabeth mentioned that she’d like to start a library, it seemed like this facility was just another establishment on When Calls the Heart’s growing list of places that have never been built or never been seen on-screen. As much as I’d like to finally see the Ice Cream Parlor in a future episode and Rosemary finally receive her theater, I’m not sure if the show has room in their budget to make these places a reality. While there have been changes in Hope Valley, we haven’t seen any new buildings arrive in the town. Also, is it just me or does that railroad that was promised last season seem almost nonexistent?

 

  • Personally, I didn’t like how the episode ended with Elizabeth’s class still looking for Timmy’s spy-glass. Ambiguous endings are something that I’m not a fan of. So, I hope that the spy-glass is referenced in the next episode.

 

  • During this episode, when it’s time for the mail call, Fiona discovers that a trunk has been sent to Lucas from San Francisco. I’m wondering what is in that trunk and who could have sent it to him? Hopefully these questions get answered in an upcoming episode.
Red sunset clouds over trees.
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How did you feel about this episode? What was your favorite story-line? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen