Take 3: Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder Review

As I just saw the third chapter in the Ruby Herring Mysteries series, I thought it’d be a good idea to pick this title as the next movie to review! Last January, I reviewed the first movie in this series; Ruby Herring Mysteries: Silent Witness. While I thought the film itself was decent, I felt it was a good start to the series. I did see Ruby Herring Mysteries: Her Last Breath, but I wasn’t able to review it. However, it’s a movie I ended up enjoying! Because Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films have been strong this year and since the Ruby Herring Mysteries series has gotten better over time, I was looking forward to this movie! Similar to Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder focuses on a cold case. However, the story itself was different from the newest Mystery 101 project. Does the latest movie in the Ruby Herring Mysteries series continue its momentum of success? Keep reading my review in order to solve this mystery!

Ruby Herring Mysteries -- Prediction Murder poster
Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Ruby+Herring+Mysteries+Prediction+Murder.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: While watching Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder, I noticed how all the acting performances appeared natural and believable. This was the result of the quality of the actors’ talents! Like I said in my review of the first film, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Silent Witness, Taylor and Stephen were two of the strongest actors in this cast! Throughout the film, they gave the impression that they were comfortable in their roles. The fact Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder is their third movie together does help. What also helps is their on-screen chemistry, which has been a consistent component in this series. Even though we saw the return of several series regulars, the audience did receive some new characters. One of them is Dakota, who is portrayed by Teagan Vincze. She is introduced in this series as a new member of the police department. With a great on-screen personality and a solid performance, I hope Teagan can become a series regular for Ruby Herring Mysteries!

 

The humor: Humor can find a place in a Hallmark Movies and Mysteries series. More often than not, the incorporation of this element works in the movie’s favor. This is the case for Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder! In this film, there was enough humor to prevent the project from becoming too dark. At the same time, the humor never derailed the story, allowing the film as a whole to be taken seriously. One example is when Ruby and her friend visit the store of a well-known psychic. What makes this scene hilarious is how it was written and the actors’ delivery.

 

The cinematography: There was some surprisingly good cinematography in Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder! One great example is when Ruby and her dad are looking for a clue in a nearby forest. The film’s creative team took advantage of the natural lighting of this location, causing the foliage in the area to be illuminated. The movie’s cinematography not only did a good job at capturing scenery. It also helped the audience focus on people or details that the script wanted to highlight. In one scene, Jake and Ruby are at the driving range. During a conversation, the camera flawlessly transitions between medium and close-up shots. This allows the focus to remain on Ruby and Jake, despite the driving range being a public location.

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Magnifying glass and fingerprint image created by Alvaro_Cabrera at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/loupe-over-a-fingerprint_853908.htm’>Designed by alvaro_cabrera</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/glass”>Glass vector created by Alvaro_cabrera – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The high-school reunion subplot: In Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder, there was a subplot about Ruby attending her high school reunion. This subplot also featured the return of Ruby’s ex-fiancé, as the event caused him to come back to his hometown. I know this part of the story was supposed provide the audience a break from the cold case. But I found the subplot to be pointless, compared to the others narratives in the script. On Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the female protagonist usually ends up with the male protagonist. Since Ruby will likely form a romantic relationship with Jake, this subplot didn’t seem to go anywhere.

 

Ruby’s unwillingness to talk about relationships: Whenever Ruby is around her ex-fiancé, Luke, she always skirts around the idea of revisiting their relationship. Meanwhile, she still sees Jake as just a friend, especially when someone asks about their relationship. It’s understandable for relationships in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series to take their time. However, by the third movie in a typical series, the protagonist should know where the nature of her relationships is going. If Ruby Herring Mysteries does receive a fourth chapter, I hope this issue can be resolved.

 

Ruby’s rivalry with Todd: Throughout the series, Ruby develops a rivalry with a fellow investigative reporter named Todd. In Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder, this rivalry continues, as Ruby receives a promotion at the beginning of the film. The actor who portrayed Todd, Chenier Hundal, did a good job with the material he was given. However, his character wasn’t on screen for long, causing him to have little to work with. In the overall story, this component didn’t seem to serve a purpose. It makes me question why this aspect is in the series if the writers aren’t going to connect it to the film’s mystery?

Journalist Reporter Profession Isometric Banner
News reporter being filmed image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/journalist-reporter-profession-isometric-banner_2875517.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>, Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Ruby Herring Mysteries series is one that has grown as time goes on. Despite the series only being a year old, it has cemented its place in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ landscape. Having Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder be a good, solid film does work in the series’ favor! Because of its unique story and positive attributes, the third chapter carries the network’s tradition of thinking outside the box and promoting creativity. There’s no denying the movie has its flaws. These are aspects that weren’t necessary to the overall story or they didn’t work as well as they could have. Hopefully, the series can receive a fourth installment, so the creative team may improve upon these flaws. Like I said in the introduction, the films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have been strong this year. Even though its not known how many new movies we’ll receive, besides the ones that have official release dates, I hope the consistent quality of these projects continue!

 

Overall score: 7.6 out of 10

 

Have you seen the Ruby Herring Mysteries series? If so, what would you like to see happen in a fourth movie? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: To Kill a Mockingbird Review

Before I start this review, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 9th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 10th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Now it’s time to choose the Best Supporting Actor of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards!

 

Originally, I had planned on reviewing To Kill a Mockingbird for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s A Month Without the Code Blogathon. Since The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon was given an April participation date and because I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the time of the event’s announcement, I decided to review the film adaptation a lot sooner than I expected. For years, I had heard great things about the novel. The now famous quotes have been plastered all over the internet, sounding deep and thought-provoking against backgrounds of characters’ pictures from the film. No literary list would be complete without To Kill a Mockingbird’s inclusion. What caused me to pick up a copy, and eventually see the movie, was the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson. This situation taking place in a time that is very different from today brought up a lot of questions. How would Atticus approach the case? Was Tom innocent? How different was the court system back then? For a while, this book was sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for the day when it would be read. Because of this blogathon, the day to read the book and see the movie has finally come!

To Kill a Mockingbird poster
To Kill a Mockingbird poster created by Brentwood Productions, Pakula-Mulligan, and Universal Pictures. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:To_Kill_a_Mockingbird_(1963_US_theatrical_poster).jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: In my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I talked about how the characters in that movie appeared as if they came from real-life. This is partly the result of the quality of the actors’ performances. The aforementioned strengths are shared by both films. While watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I noticed how all the performances felt realistic. The actors brought enough emotion and animation to their roles, in order to bring their characters to life. I enjoyed watching the performances in this film. However, the two standouts came from Collin Wilcox Paxton (who portrayed Mayella Ewell) and Brock Peters (who portrayed Tom Robinson). Even though they appeared on screen for a limited amount of time, they were able to bring so much emotion and power to their roles. These elements allowed Collin and Brock to elevate their characters as well as the source material.

 

How the source material was presented: Looking back on the book, the story itself was 20% about the trial and 80% about the “slice of life” perspective Scout offers to the readers. This imbalance is what caused me to not enjoy the book as much as I had expected. The film’s creative team makes an effort to create a balance between these two ideas by removing scenes that would have felt like padding. In the book, the majority of a chapter is devoted to the Halloween carnival/play and what caused that event to take place. The movie, however, only shows Jem and Scout arriving and leaving the school. The way some scenes were presented in the movie highlighted Atticus’ abilities as a lawyer more effectively than in the book. When Atticus to talking to Scout about compromises and trying to see things from another person’s perspective, the scene places more emphasis on Atticus himself delivering the message, showing the values he follows as a lawyer. In the book, it feels like these lessons are rehashing information most readers already know.

 

Moments of suspense: There were some scenes containing suspenseful moments that were periodically placed in the film. One of these moments takes place in the scene when Atticus visits Helen Robinson for the first time. While Jem is sitting in Atticus’ car, Bob Ewell drunkenly approaches the vehicle. Because this is the first time Bob is introduced on screen and because he is presented in a disorderly state, Bob’s decisions and actions are very unpredictable. Scenes like this one maintained the overall story’s intrigue. It maintained my investment in the film as well. These scenes featuring suspenseful moments also allowed the creative team to adopt story-telling elements like the use of shadows and dramatic music.

Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner
The 2020 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner created by Paul from Silver Screen Classics. Image found at https://silverscreenclassicsblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/announcing-the-2020-classic-literature-on-film-blogathon/?wref=tp.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The trial taking place at a later time: As I said in the introduction, the trial where Atticus defends Tom Robinson is what made me want to read the book. When I did read it, I was disappointed to discover the trial itself took place sixteen out of thirty-one chapters into the story. In the movie, the trial appears at the halfway point. In this case, I fault the source material more than the film’s creative team. Even though I had to wait an hour for the trial to be presented on screen, the creative team did try their best to get to that point as soon as possible.

 

Some unclear details: Some details in this movie were unclear, especially if someone didn’t read the book before they saw the movie. In the book, Jem and Scout are introduced to Reverend Sykes when they attend Mass at Calpurnia’s church. When the trial takes place, they agree to sit with Reverend Sykes in the balcony section of the courthouse. Because the church service was omitted from the movie, there’s no clear explanation provided for how Jem and Scout know Reverend Sykes. It might have helped if details like this one were given some context.

 

The voice-over: The book is told from the perspective of an adult reflecting on their childhood. However, the movie presented the events as if they are taking place in “present-time”. Because of this decision, it allows the events to speak for themselves. This makes the voice-over seem like an unnecessary component. The voice-over was also not consistently included in the movie, causing its presence to not feel justified.

Law Justice Isometric Composition Icon
Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

There are very few times when I feel a film adaptation is better than its literary source material. In fact, the two previous instances that I can think of are Hallmark’s Hall of Fame’s The Beach House and Hallmark Channel’s Rome in Love. After watching To Kill a Mockingbird, I have now found a third adaptation to add to that list. I’m not a fan of “slice of life” stories, hence why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I had expected. While these aspects of the “slice of life” story were incorporated in the movie, the creative team’s main focus was about getting straight to the point a lot sooner. The visual nature of film worked in the favor of certain elements from the source material. Suspenseful moments in certain scenes are one great example. Reading about those moments in a book does cause a level of uncertainty. Watching them take place on screen makes those moments seem real and intensifies that uncertainty. If I known my feelings about this movie before reading the book, I honestly would have skipped the book and gone straight to the movie.

 

Overall score: 8.1 out of 10

 

Have you read any classic literature? If so, did you see its film adaptation, if it has one? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Mystery 101: An Education in Murder Review

In 2020, I haven’t reviewed Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films as often as I had wanted to. This is because of two reasons. The first is how I’m not always able to watch a film as soon as it is released. The second is how I’ve devoted my time to re-capping When Calls the Heart. But since I just watched the newest film in the Mystery 101 series and because some of my most popular content is Hallmark Movies & Mysteries related, I decided to review Mystery 101: An Education in Murder! I’ve watched all of Hallmark’s mystery movies that have premiered this year, so far. In my opinion, I think these projects are stronger than the newer Hallmark Channel movies I’ve seen. While there are patterns that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films follow, each series tries to tell a different kind of story. The series themselves have a distinct identity, preventing these films from blending into one another. The Mystery 101 series is just one example. Taking an academic approach to the mystery genre, this collection of films has quickly become a fan favorite. I still can’t believe that after this story started a year ago, it’s already on the fifth chapter!

Mystery 101 -- An Education in Murder poster
Mystery 101: An Education in Murder poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Mystery+101+An+Education+in+Murder.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: What I liked about the performances in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder is how every actor and actress presented their character as if they were individuals from real-life. While the film’s writing makes this aspect a possibility, the quality of the actors’ talents also helps. All of the interactions between the characters felt realistic and their conversations came across as natural. Even though there were actors and actresses that were new to the series, there were others that have either regularly appeared in the Mystery 101 series or another mystery series. Steve Bacic was one of the main cast members in the Garage Sale Mystery series. Because of his work in those movies, it gave him an understanding on how a typical Hallmark Movies & Mysteries project works. Despite Steve being in the film for a short amount of time, his performance benefitted from his experiences working with Hallmark’s second network.

 

Travis and Amy’s interactions: Seeing Travis and Amy’s relationship grow over the course of the series is one of the best parts of these films! As I said in my Mystery 101 review, the on-screen chemistry between Jill and Kristoffer helps. In Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, these moments featuring Amy and Travis were more light-hearted and humorous. This was meant to provide the audience with periodical breaks from the darkness within the story. One of these moments was when Travis and Amy are waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Even though this was meant to be a romantic date, Amy’s dad showed up and the dinner became an unintentional group event. This scene was hilarious and provided light-hearted interactions between these characters!

 

The mystery: Cold cases are not often featured in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films. This kind of mystery in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder gave the audience a different story from what is usually shown on Hallmark’s second network. It encourages the creative team behind this series or any mystery series to think outside the box when it comes to story-telling. Instead of relying on physical objects as clues, the clues themselves were found in the dialogue spoken by the suspects. This provided an interesting approach to the mystery itself and how it was solved. Using language as a tool for solving a mystery is a concept that I’ve rarely seen in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film!

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Magnifying fingerprints image created by Balintseby at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/glass”>Glass vector created by Balintseby – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/fingerprint-investigation_789253.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The “don’t-get-involved” cliché: In my Crossword Mysteries: Abracadaver review, I talked about how the incorporation of the “don’t-get-involved” cliché was one of the flaws of that film. This is because I feel this cliché doesn’t work outside of the series’ first or second movie. Mystery 101: An Education in Murder is another film that adopts this cliché. Within the first twenty minutes of the film, Travis tells Amy not to get involved with the case. I know that he told her this with the intention of keeping her best interests in mind. I am also aware that the mystery itself was a cold case. However, Travis told Amy this after she had helped him successfully solve more than one mystery and after he called her a “consultant” while talking with a former colleague. If Travis had expressed his concern about Amy getting involved in the first or second movie, it would feel justified. But in the series’ fifth film, this cliché seems unnecessary.

 

A limited presence for some characters: Some of the characters in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder are featured less than others. As I already mentioned, Steve Bacic was in the film for a limited amount of time. When I first saw this film’s trailer, I had assumed Steve’s character, Mac, would play a bigger role within the story. However, he was only presented in a handful of scenes. I’ve enjoyed watching Preston Vanderslice’s performances in the Mystery 101 series! It makes me happy whenever Bud shows up in any movie. However, it feels like this character is stuck in the same place. I’m not an expert on the subject of the teaching profession. But, by the fifth movie, I feel like Bud should be further along in his educational journey. If this series receives a sixth movie, I hope we can see Bud passing his final exams or watch him graduating.

 

A few overlooked story-points: There were a few story-points in this movie that were not fully explored. A series of Mark Twain’s transcripts were incorporated in the overall story. They were shown at the beginning of the film as the cause for the mystery taking place. I’m not going to spoil the film if you haven’t seen it yet. However, I think these transcripts should have had a stronger connection to the overarching mystery. There was one suspect who was directly connected to the case. Again, I will not spoil the movie. But I think this character’s part of the story was, to a certain extent, overlooked.

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

My overall impression:

The Mystery 101 series is, in my opinion, one of the stronger of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ series. Its quality has been consistent and I’ve enjoyed watching each chapter. In fact, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill was one of the best movies I saw in 2019! Similar to that film, I did like Mystery 101: An Education in Murder! While it did have some flaws that prevented the project from being better than it was, I had a good time solving the mystery alongside Travis and Amy. Having the mystery be a cold case provided an interesting change to the series. The way the mystery itself was approached was also unique. Language has always played a role in any mystery. But in Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, dialogue from the suspects was used as clues for solving the case. Because of everything that’s been happening in the world at this time, it’ll be a while before we see another Mystery 101 movie. However, I hope we can receive another chapter in this series soon!

 

Overall score: 7.9 out of 10

 

Have you been watching Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ newest films? If so, which one has been your favorite so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Carpenter’s Miracle Review + 185 Follower Thank You

Before I start this blog follower dedication review, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Let’s Choose the Best Actress of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

Last week, I received 185 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! To everyone that chose to follow my blog, thank you so much! Your belief in me, as a blogger, is what keeps this site going! Because of this achievement, it’s time for another blog follower dedication review! For this post, I’ll be talking about a film that was released in March of 2013. The only movie with a 2013 release date on my DVR was The Carpenter’s Miracle. Not only did it premiere in March of that year, but reviewing it now is very fitting. The Lenten season is upon us. This is a collection of days leading up to the Easter celebration. The events in The Carpenter’s Miracle revolve around the Easter holiday, making the film an appropriate choice for this time of year. Before watching this movie, I had seen Cameron Matheson’s acting work from Hallmark, as well as tin he Lifetime movie, The Wife He Met Online. Some of those projects have been better than others. However, Cameron always finds a way to bring the best of his acting abilities to the screen!

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This poster for The Carpenter’s Miracle verifies that I, indeed, saw this movie. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: As I said in the introduction, I’ve enjoyed watching Cameron Matheson’s performances in various Hallmark films. The believability he brings to his roles is what makes these performances so great to watch! Cameron’s portrayal of Joshua was no different, showcasing how broad his acting range is. In the film’s opening scene, Joshua can be seen trying to save a young boy’s life. This scene is a perfect example of how good Cameron’s acting abilities are. I also felt the same way when I saw Michelle Harrison’s performance! Like Cameron, Michelle has appeared in several Hallmark pictures, including the upcoming film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek. When her character, Sarah, finds out her son had died, Michelle’s acting talents really shined through. Not only was her portrayal believable, but she was also allowed to show off her broad acting range! Another actress that has appeared in Hallmark’s movies is Sarah-Jane Redmond. What I liked about her performance was how she effectively used facial expressions and voice inflections in a variety of scenarios. These things helped her portrayal of Delia seem convincing! A great example is in the scene where her character meets Joshua for the first time.

 

The cinematography: The Carpenter’s Miracle had better cinematography than I expected! The way some of these scenes were presented was creative and appealing to the eye! In one scene, Joshua visits his mother, Helen, at a local nursing home. While there, they watch the rain-drops falling on the window. During this scene, the camera cuts between the characters and the window. This creative choice gives the audience a chance to view that scene from Joshua and Helen’s perspective. The movie’s first scene was presented in a gray hue, showing Joshua’s act of rescuing a young boy as a dire situation. Because of this scene’s presentation, it brought forth the feelings of fear and uncertainty.

 

How Christianity/faith was included in the story: References to Jesus and the Bible were made throughout the story. The events in the film also take place around the Easter holiday. However, these references never feel preachy or heavy-handed. Instead, any mention of Jesus and Biblical themes are naturally woven into the script. The way they were written felt like they contained a double meaning: one connected to the film’s events and the other toward Christian messages and themes. The narrative itself placed more emphasis on a story than on delivering a message. Any Christian messages that appeared in the movie organically grew from the situations the characters experienced.

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Cute Easter image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The protagonist given little to do: In the Bible, Jesus performs many acts that impact a variety of people. Because Joshua is meant to be a Jesus-esque figure in The Carpenter’s Miracle, you’d think he would have a packed schedule within the story. But within an hour and twenty-seven minutes, Joshua isn’t given much to do. Yes, he does help others through the power of healing. However, he only creates three miracles in the movie. One of them is heavily prioritized, causing the story to focus on the aftermath of the event. For the majority of the film, Joshua is seen spending time with Sarah, visiting his mother, or performing small maintenance jobs.

 

Limited journalistic presence: The main plot of The Carpenter’s Miracle is about how Joshua saves a young boy’s life. This event causes Joshua to receive a lot of attention. If a situation like this happened in real life, it would likely be covered in the news for about a week. People would also be talking about it on social media, with an official hashtag possibly being created to commemorate the act. In The Carpenter’s Miracle, the presence of journalism was very limited. The aforementioned event was covered on only one local news station. This same event was addressed on a nationally aired news program weeks after it occurred. The journalistic presence in the movie not only felt unrealistic, but it also seemed like there was little to no sense of urgency.

 

Too many plot points: There were several plot points featured in The Carpenter’s Miracle. This caused some of them to be addressed more than others. One example revolves around Joshua’s mother, Helen. Throughout the movie, she deals with a serious medical condition. While this situation does get resolved, it feels like it gets taken care of as a result of the film’s run-time. Personally, I wish this film had fewer plot points than it did. That way, they could have all been equally explored.

Journalist Reporter Profession Isometric Banner
News reporter being filmed image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/journalist-reporter-profession-isometric-banner_2875517.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/banner”>Banner vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>, Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Carpenter’s Miracle is not the first faith-based film I’ve reviewed, especially for a blog follower dedication review. Last January, when I received 60 followers, I reviewed the 1959 movie, Ben-Hur. Looking back on both pictures, I can honestly say that Ben-Hur is a stronger project than The Carpenter’s Miracle. The story of the latter film could have been given a stronger script. It wasn’t as impactful as I had hoped. Despite this, the movie did contain aspects that I liked. For one thing, I did like the inclusion of Christianity/faith. The Easter holiday highlights themes like putting the needs of others before one’s self. Ideas such as this one were expressed well within the story. Even though I thought The Carpenter’s Miracle was an ok film, it is an interesting film to watch during the Lenten season. I’ve seen other movies with as similar story, with Working Miracles being one example. However, I do think the 2013 Up Network film is a better project than the 2010 Hallmark movie.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Have you watched any of Up Network’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Honeymoon for One Review

I’m not going to lie, my submission for the Out to Sea Blogathon required a good amount of thought. I consulted with the blogathon’s creator, Debbie from Moon in Gemini, to find an appropriate film to talk about. After searching my DVR, I ended up choosing a Hallmark film from 2011 called Honeymoon for One. While the ocean doesn’t play a role in this story, other bodies of water can be found. In this movie, there are several scenes that take place in a river, one where a waterfall is featured, and another where the protagonists sit next to what looks like a lake. As the days of the blogathon came closer, I realized that St. Patrick’s Day was two weeks after the event. Because Honeymoon for One takes place in Ireland, this film became a better choice for the blogathon than I expected! I’ve seen pieces of this movie before, but never in its entirety. This blogathon has given me the chance to finally see all of Honeymoon for One!

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What a funny coincidence that the second Hallmark film from 2011 I’ve reviewed has a poster that is a screenshot. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Back in 2016, I saw the Hallmark Channel film, All Yours. One of the reasons why I enjoyed that picture is because of the acting, including Nicollette Sheridan’s performance. Like that movie, I liked seeing her portrayal of the protagonist, Eve, in Honeymoon for One! The well-roundedness of her performance is what made it work, giving her an opportunity to express a variety of emotions for different situations. The scene where Eve spends her first night in Ireland is a perfect example of everything I just said. I also liked seeing Greg Wise’s portrayal of Sean! He did a fine job carrying an Irish accent and he was expressive in subtle ways. Greg’s interactions with the film’s other characters showcases these ideas well. Speaking of accents, Katie Bannon also did a fine job carrying an Irish accent! Her portrayal of Sean’s daughter, Kathleen, was so endearing. It also helps that her on-screen relationships felt genuine. One great example is when Kathleen is interacting with Sean and Eve at a local art fair.

 

The scenery: Filmed in Ireland, the scenery in Honeymoon for One definitely stole the show! The country’s natural beauty shined through in every scene that took place there. Eve visits the Irish countryside, which was gorgeous to look at. Various shades of green and even hues of brown and red could be seen in the foliage throughout the characters’ surroundings. The aforementioned locations featuring water were breathtaking, its video footage likely not doing them justice. Even the hotel and Sean and Kathleen’s house were impressive! The interior and exterior of these locations were visually appealing. Just one example is the hotel’s honeymoon suite, where its spacious layout and white décor looked fit for royalty. The country town that was occasionally shown in the film appeared quaint and inviting. The landscape alone provided one good argument why one should take a trip to Ireland!

 

Similarities between American and Irish culture: In movies like The Cabin, the incorporation of another country’s culture is meant to show how it is different or unique from that of the American protagonist(s). Honeymoon for One chooses to focus on the similarities between American and Irish culture instead. At various moments, Eve tries different outdoor activities, like horse-riding and fishing. These activities can be found in both countries, highlighting how they have a respective place in both cultures. While taking a day trip through the countryside, Sean explains to Eve why he doesn’t want a new golf course to be built, stating that he’d like to protect the landscape and its wildlife for Kathleen. Standing up for what you believe in and looking out for your family are values that both Americans and the Irish share. Even cuisine has its similarities! Burgers are brought up by some of the characters, with Eve and her Irish friends enjoying the treat. Honeymoon for One does a good job at showing how people from all over the world can, more often than not, find common ground!

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Irish heart image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/label”>Label vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A weak conflict: The main plot of Honeymoon for One revolves around the protagonist and the aftermath of her break-up. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this kind of story. However, because this is a Hallmark “rom-com”, you already have an idea of what’s going to happen. Smaller conflicts were sprinkled in the story, such as Sean’s efforts to preserve the Irish countryside. But these conflicts weren’t explored enough to infuse intrigue into the overall plot. In the end, this story was too predictable for my liking.

 

The “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché: In Honeymoon for One, Eve’s ex, Greg, shows up in Ireland unannounced. This part of the film ended up being drawn out for so long, that it felt like Greg overstayed his welcome. I understand Greg’s presence on Eve’s trip was meant to serve as the main plot’s conflict. But, as I already mentioned, this is a Hallmark “rom-com”. Sean appears as a better candidate to receive the protagonist’s love and Eve expresses little to no interest in getting back with Greg. These factors make this cliché’s inclusion in the story pointless.

 

The “it’s not what you think” cliché: At one point in the movie, Eve assumes that Sean is dating another woman after meeting her at his house. Kathleen’s persuasion is what causes Eve to hear the real story from Sean’s perspective. Like the aforementioned “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché, this cliché also felt pointlessly included in the story. Because of the nature of this film, we know that things are going to work out for the better. Also, an intelligent and hard-working businesswoman like Eve making assumptions that quickly and easily seems petty for her character. I know this was supposed to be a conflict for Eve and Sean’s relationship. I also understand that Eve went through a terrible break-up. But for protagonists who appear over the age of thirty-five, it would have more respectful toward their integrity show them dealing with this issue in a mature and civil way.

Out to Sea Blogathon banner
The Out of Sea Blogathon banner created by Debbie from Moon in Gemini. Image found at https://debravega.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/announcing-the-out-to-sea-blogathon/.

My overall impression:

It’s always exciting when Hallmark creates a movie that involves traveling to a new location! This gives the audience an excuse to see a part of the world that may be different from their own. But, at the end of the day, the most important part of any film is the story it visually tells. Personally, I think this story could have been stronger. The film’s main conflict was weak, which made the movie more predictable than it needed to be. There were other conflicts in the movie, but they didn’t receive enough attention. I also feel the uses of the “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché and the “it’s not what you think” cliché were unnecessary. However, the movie does have its merits. Like I said in this review, the scenery was the showstopper of this project! It brought visual interest to the film and it was great to look at. Even though I’m glad I picked this movie for the Out to Sea Blogathon, I think there are Hallmark films featuring the Irish backdrop that are better than this one.

 

Overall score: 6-6.1 out of 10

 

Have you ever been to Ireland? What movie featuring an ocean is your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Finding Forrester Review

One of the available categories for the Leap Year Blogathon was to talk about “any movie or TV show you’ve always wanted to review but never had the chance to”. This is the approach I’ve chosen to take with Rebecca’s event. As I was scrolling through my DVR, I came across a movie called Finding Forrester. Ever since I read the film’s synopsis on BYUtv’s website several years ago, I have wanted to see this movie because the story sounded interesting. I even recorded it on my DVR in the hopes of watching it someday. Well, it looks like 2020 is the time when I’m finally getting around to talking about this film! I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of Sean Connery’s movies. The Russia House and The Great Train Robbery are the only films I’ve seen with Sean as one of the leads. While I thought the former was ok, I enjoyed the latter more than I thought I would. Now that this is the third picture of Sean’s I’ve watched, it’ll be interesting to see where Finding Forrester ranks among the other two films.

Finding Forrester poster
Finding Forrester poster created by Sony Pictures Releasing and Columbia Pictures. Image found at https://www.sonypictures.com/movies/findingforrester.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Finding Forrester is a story that grounds itself in reality. Because of this, the acting performances in this film come across as realistic portrayals. What this means is all the characters feel like real people. The genuine expressions and behaviors of each character shine through because of the quality of the actors’ talents. How the characters interact with each other is evident of this, especially within the friendship of Jamal and William. Depth was added to the characters because of the interactions they share. The dialogue was well-executed by the actors, causing the conversations to sound authentic. What works in this cast’s favor are the various personalities presented and the character development that takes place. A sense of intrigue is brought forth as a result of all of these elements.

 

The cinematography: Whenever this film’s creative team wanted the audience to focus on a particular person or object, they would adopt medium shots or close-ups to place a greater emphasis on that subject. During basketball tryouts, Jamal was playing against a senior team member from the private school. The rivalry between these two characters is the highlight of this scene, so medium shots are used to present them to the audience. When Jamal is removing his notebooks from his backpack, after the bag was retrieved from William’s apartment, close-ups implemented the importance of writing that serves as a consistent idea throughout the film. In two scenes, the reflection of Jamal can be seen from William’s binoculars. This is meant to foreshadow the connection these characters will share through their friendship. These cinematic techniques helped make the cinematography stand out in this project!

 

The incorporation of knowledge: Like writing, the idea of knowledge is consistent in Finding Forrester. The way it was incorporated into this story was seamless and showed how important it can be to any individual. One example is when Jamal is explaining a brief history of the BMW to William’s acquaintance. This information not only helped Jamal stand up for himself, but it also educated the audience about one of the world’s most iconic car companies. The knowledge that William and Jamal share about writing is another great example. During a debate about the rules of writing, they are able to express their ideas and view the perspective of the other person. This scene shows that, with knowledge, one can be a part of something greater than themselves. It also shows that knowledge can create a connection between people.

Leap Year Blogathon banner
The Leap Year Blogathon banner created by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. Image found at https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/announcing-the-leap-year-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The lighting: Most of the lighting in Finding Forrester is dim. This allows the overall color palette to appear darker on screen. However, it also makes it difficult to see what is happening in the film. The scenes taking place in William’s apartment experienced this issue. Because of the dimmed lighting, it was sometimes difficult to see Jamal’s and William’s face in these scenes. Half of this movie is centered around Jamal and William’s friendship, which means that half of the overall picture features the dim surroundings of William’s apartment.

 

Scenes that become padding: There are several scenes in Finding Forrester that become padding. One example is when Jamal’s friends are shown spending time together at a restaurant. This moment had no bearing on the story and didn’t progress the plot forward. It also doesn’t have a strong need to exist in the narrative. Scenes like these felt like they were placed in the movie for the sake of satisfying the run-time. If some of these scenes were cut, the film would have been shorter and the script could have been a bit tighter.

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Typewriter image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/typewriter-and-paper-sheet_713020.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Someone I know once told me that knowledge is one of the most valuable possessions a person can own. When it’s earned, it can never be taken away from you. This is expressed very well in Finding Forrester, a solid and satisfying picture! While this movie is more of a character study, this concept works in the film’s favor. The delivery of the script and acting performances gave me an opportunity to stay invested in the characters and their interactions. The messages of integrity, self-worth, and knowledge have the potential to be relatable among audience members. They can also inspire people to pursue their talents and believe in their strengths. Finding Forrester is a movie that I’m glad I made the time to see. I’d like to thank Rebecca for giving me this opportunity through her Leap Year Blogathon!

 

Overall score: 8.2 out of 10

 

Is there a movie you’ve always to see, but never made time for? What are your plans for Leap Year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box Review

Because I wrote an editorial for the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon, I decided to write a movie review for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon. The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a film I had never heard of until I researched titles for this event. Since it was released in early 2014, I knew it would be a good entry! While learning more about the film, it sounded like a mix between The Librarian trilogy and Sherlock Holmes. Because I enjoy both of those stories, I figured I might get some enjoyment out of this movie! As I’ve stated on countless occasions, I try to use my blog to give lesser-known films the “standing ovation” they might deserve. Talking about The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box definitely fits that goal of mine! But is this movie truly worthy of a “standing ovation”? Please join me on this journey as we’re about to find out in this review!

The Adventurer -- The Curse of the Midas Box poster
The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box poster created by Entertainment Motion Pictures (E-MOTION), Arcadia Motion Pictures, Matador Pictures, Telefonica Producciones, The Kraken Films, Nix Films, International Pictures Two, Cronos Entertainment AIE, Cinema One, Afrodita Audiovisual, A.I.E., uFilm, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Federal de Belgique, Mogambo, Propulsion, Umedia, and The Film Arcade. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Adventurer_the_curse_of_the_midas_box_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The cast in The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box was solid! I had never heard of Aneurin Barnard prior to watching this film. However, I was impressed with his portrayal of Mariah! His performance was expressive in a subtle way. A good example is when Mariah is explaining to Sacha why he wants to find his brother, Felix. The audience can tell that Mariah is about to cry, but Aneurin primarily relies on expressing those feelings of sadness and loneliness through his eyes. I was also not familiar with Mella Carron before seeing this movie. Like Aneurin, I was impressed with her performance as Sacha! Her overall portrayal was well-rounded. Similar to Aneurin’s performance, she was also expressive in subtle ways. One example is when she’s sharing her problems with Mariah. When she is talking about her father’s troubling behavior, Sacha’s eyes fill with tears, showing how much this situation upsets her. I thought Sam Neill portrayed a convincing villain! I’ve only seen a few of Sam’s films, so I have only seen him portray protagonists or characters that were not villainous. While bringing the character of Otto to life, Sam’s demeanor was arrogant and cunning. These are the qualities you’d likely find in a villain, as these kinds of characters sometimes see themselves as being better than everyone else.

 

Historical accuracy: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box takes place in 1885. While watching this movie, I noticed how everything looked and felt like that period in time. The wardrobe and set designs definitely fit within the world the film’s creative team created. The metalwork within the hotel seemed like it came straight from the 1880s. Even the font on posters and signs looked accurate to that time period. The ways this aspect of the film was handled shows that no detail was ignored during any part of the movie’s creative process.

 

The element of mystery: In The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, there was a mystery within the main plot. This mystery element was one of the most interesting parts of the film! It allowed me to stay invested in what was happening in the story and to the characters. The mystery also created a sense of wonder as to what would happen next. This element brought intrigue to the overall story!

OQECW90
Sketch of London image created by Archjoe at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-houses-of-parliament_1133950.htm’>Designed by Archjoe</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Archjoe – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of lighting: While the cinematography was mostly good in this film, there were some scenes that had little to no lighting. They were so dark, I had difficulty seeing what was on screen. One example is toward the beginning of the movie, when Mariah and Felix are having a conversation outside. This scene was so poorly lit, Mariah face was hidden by the darkness. Whenever this happened, I found it to be frustrating.

 

A misleading title: As I said in my Halloween Double Feature, a film’s title can act as a promise to a film’s audience. When a creative team makes an effort to put a subject in their movie’s title, they need to deliver on that “promise” to their audience. For The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, I didn’t really feel like there was an adventure taking place in the story, despite the film being called The Adventurer. There were some scenes that had a sense of adventure to them. But it never seemed like the characters were going on a journey or allowing the audience to go on a quest with them. The majority of this movie took place in one location. This made the story feel condensed. All these elements presented the overall narrative like it belonged to a mystery movie and not an adventure one.

 

Two separate mysteries: Like I previously stated, I liked the mystery element within this movie. However, I think it was a mistake to feature more than one mystery in the film. In this story, there is a second mystery that exists while the main mystery is being solved. For most of the film, these mysteries were separate from one another. While they eventually connected, this didn’t happen until it was almost time for the film’s climax. The second mystery also felt like it combined with the first mystery out of plot convenience. I thought both mysteries were intriguing. But they should have been in their own separate films.

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon banner
The Ultimate 2010s Blogathon banner created by Kim from Tranquil Dreams and Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews. Image found at https://klling.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/announcement-ultimate-2010s-blogathon-sign-up-now/.

My overall impression:

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a fine, enjoyable film! There were things about it that I liked, such as the acting and the historical accuracy within the project. However, I can think of movies with adventure stories that were executed better than this one. The fact that this film was light of the adventure was, for me, a disappointment. It also doesn’t help that the film’s title features the word “adventurer”. If you do plan on watching this movie, approach it with the notion that you’re going to watch a mystery movie. That way, the condensed nature of the story and the limited amount of adventure will make more sense. I’m not sure if this film was given a sequel. If it was, I’ll definitely consider reviewing it on 18 Cinema Lane!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

Have you ever heard of The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box? What movie from the 2010s is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen