Category Archives: movies

Smurfs – The Lost Village DVD Review

Once again we had a wonderful Friday evening with our traditional pizza and a movie. This week we watched Smurfs – The Lost Village and it was a huge hit.

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About
Smurfs – The Lost Village

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

I loved the Smurfs when I was young and I loved being able to share this fun story with my kids. The Lost Village explores the story of how Smurfs came to be and what secrets lie beyond their small village. It’s fun for me as an adult to learn more about the characters I loved some much as a child.

The cast boast many popular actors whom you might easily recongnize their voice, or not. One of my favorite things to do while watching animated movies with my kids it to try and figure out which famous actors are voicing the characters. Sometimes it’s easy and other times I’m quite surprised. This time there were several voices I recognized right away like Jack McBrayer, Rainn Wilson and Ellie Kemper.

The DVD and BluRay also comes with so much bonus material like commentary, interactive featurettes, and music videos. Overall, it’s a great movie for family movie night and we can’t wait to watching it again.

I received the featured Blu-Ray in exchange for my honest opinion. My opinions are not influenced by the company.

Gearing up for Cars 3 with Juicy Juice

Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” is cruising into theaters on June 16th, so to prepare for the racing excitement the boys and I took a little trip to the NC Museum of History to learn about the history of auto racing in North Carolina.

We aren’t big NASCAR or racing fans but North Carolina’s racing history dates back to the 1930’s and is currently a billion dollar industry in our state. So we felt obligated to learn more about what makes it such a popular sport. We got to see champion driver Richard Petty’s stock car and other popular racing memorabilia.

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The boys were rather disappointed that none of the cars had eyes or could talk like the one from Cars but they are very excited for the upcoming “Cars 3” movie.

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Juicy Juice has launched a limited-edition “Cars 3” product featuring beloved characters like Lighting McQueen. Juicy Juice “Cars 3” 100% juice will be available in 8-pack juice boxes in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch and Grape, and multi-serve bottles in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch, Cherry, Kiwi Strawberry and Strawberry Watermelon. Look for these specially-marked packs, find your code, go to juicyjuicegame.com and enter to win awesome prizes such as movie tickets, toys and activity sheets.

Head to your grocery store to buy limited-edition Cars 3 Juicy Juice and while you wait for June 16th to check out this fun Piston Cup Race Maze.

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This post has been sponsored by Juicy Juice. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Movie Review

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For months Joe has been talking about seeing the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie for his birthday. Almost every year we go see the latest super hero movie for his birthday since they are usually released in May so I knew Guardians of the Galaxy would be up this year for his birthday. To say he was excited when we went to the screening on Monday night would be an understatement.

To be honest I fell asleep during the first Guardians of the Galaxy, not because I wasn’t interested but because we were watching it in the comfort of our living room and I was spending most of my nights up with a new baby. But I was very excited to see this movie even though I didn’t totally follow the plot because I missed most of the first movie. (Now I will have to go back and re-watch it.)

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MY THOUGHTS
I thought it was a very fun (I literally laughed out loud several times) movie and a great touching story. There was action, romance, comedy and drama. Toddler Groot was adorable and Drax was hilarious. I loved Kurt Russel as Ego. And the soundtrack was super fun.

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JOE’S THOUGHTS

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a lot of fun, accessible enough for casual fans, and has lots of cool details for nerdy super-fan types like myself to freak out over for days.  It is very well written, brings a surprising amount of depth to its’ supporting characters (looking at you, Yondu), and adeptly switches between heartbreaking and irreverent much the same as its’ predecessor.  Baby Groot, a character-development choice that had the potential to Jar-Jar-Binks up the film or even the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, instead pays off in spades as he steals all of his scenes with  adorable, 100% accurate ass-faced toddler behavior.  Chris Pratt delivers another solid performance as a now-grown-man taken from earth before he learned that He-Man stopped being cool at age 13, who continues to deal with a complicated family history exacerbated by the unexpected arrival of his absentee biological father (Kurt Friggin’ Russell).  Also he saves the galaxy some more too. So to sum up, this movie is what a summer blockbuster should be, and also what a movie should be, and also should probably win some awards or something if they gave awards to movies for being enjoyable instead of being pretentious.  Also Kurt Russell is in it.  I guess I probably could have just said “Kurt Russell” and stopped there.   Kurt Russell.

In Theaters Friday, May 5th

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

Entenmann’s Little Bites & Smurfs {Giveaway}

I grew up watching The Smurfs, it was one of my favorite cartoons, so I’m pretty excited about the new Smurfs movie, “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” I also grew up eating Entenmann’s® snacks so I’m super excited that Entenmann’s® is offering a special promotion for the new Smurfs movie.

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With the purchase of two 5 count, one 10 count, or one 20 count specially marked Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins packages, receive $5.00 off a movie ticket to see the “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” Available nationwide for a limited time until 4/30/17

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins are the perfect Smurf-approved baked snacks. These moist, delicious muffins are made with real blueberries, contain no high fructose corn syrup, no trans-fat and are certified Kosher. At less than 200 calories per pouch, Entenmann’s® Little Bites® are the perfect family snack to enjoy at home or on-the-go.

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My boys aren’t familiar with Smurfs yet so I’m excited to take them to see “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. However, they are familiar with Entenmann’s and they love Little Bites.

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GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will win a $25 Fandango gift card and (3) coupons for $5.00 off the purchase of any Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Ends 4/18/17.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on April 18, 2017. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Entenmann’s® Little Bites® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Entenmann’s® Little Bites®.

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

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I’ll be honest, Beauty and the Beast wasn’t a movie I thought I would be interested in seeing. And then as I learned about the full cast and started to see the trailers my interest grew. When I was growing up I was a little too old to fully enjoy the Beauty and the Beast animated movie but I remember watching it several times while babysitting and the most recently with my children.

What got me excited about screening Beauty and the Beast was really the cast, what a great collection of amazing actors. Of course Emma Watson as Belle is a great fit but the rest of the cast plays such an important roll. I particularly love Dan Stevens as the Beast, even with all of the computer animation that transformed him into the beast his mannerisms and facial expression are portrayed wonderfully and help capture the humanity of the Beast. Instead of seeing Beast as a creature you see him as a man trapped inside the beastly body.

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What makes this movie different from the original animated Disney classical is that it takes us further into the store of Belle and her family. We also learn more about the Beast and how they develop throughout the story. There are several scenes and songs that are not in the original but fit seamlessly into the classic scenes you love.

Often when animated movies are made into life-action movies I’ve found that they are overly dramatic and intense but there was a fine balance in this movie that still makes it appropriate for children.

I love Ewan McGregor as Lumiere singing “Be Our Guest” and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. But I think my favorite character was Luke Evans as Gaston, he does a wonderful job making you kind of like Gaston but also really hate the true monster he really is.

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Overall, this is a very fun movie, great for kids and adults alike.
Opens in theaters today, March 17, 2017.

 

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

The BGF – Movie Review

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I can’t tell you how excited I was for the new Disney film of Roald Dahl’s famous, “The BFG”. I love anything written by Roald Dahl and just a few months ago Jude and I read “The BFG” together. I was very interested to see how Disney and Steven Spielberg would portray this beautiful and heartwarming story.

I contemplated taking Jude to the preview but I know how sensitive he is to things that are the slightest bit scary. So even though he’s 8 years old I decided it was best to watch it first. I remember him telling me it was scary when we read the book so I can only imagine how much more intense it would be for him to see it on the big screen. I don’t know if all children will react this way but the premise of the story is based around giants stealing children from their beds while they sleep, and then eating them. So that part of the story could be quite scary for some children.

However, like most of Roald Dahl’s stories they typically start off rather dark but always have fun and happy endings. (I can’t say the same for his adult fiction but that is something to discuss in another post.)

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About The BFG
“The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG, while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeate on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary , that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.

Final Thoughts
I absolutely love the performance of Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. She is absolutely delightful and you automatically fall in love with this sweet little girl. The same can be said for The BFG, the special effects on the giants is wonderful especially the vulnerability and warmth captured in the eyes of The BFG. My favorite scene is their trip to dream country, it’s absolutely beautiful and there are several lovely lines that just resonate with you long after the movie is over.

I will probably wait a little while until I take my kids to see The BFG but I will be very excited when we all get to watch it together.

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The BFG is rated G
Release Date: July 1, 2016

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I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

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Alice Through the Looking Glass – Movie Review

Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a beautiful new film based on the stories of Lewis Carroll. Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, directed by James Bobin revisits the visually stunning world created in Tim Burton’s 2010 film, “Alice in Wonderland”. You’ll be greeted by many beloved characters played by the returning cast of Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Helena Bonham Carter and introduced to a few new characters played by Rhys Ifans and Sasha Baron Cohen. Also back are the talented voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor and Paul Whitehouse, who are joined by Matt Vogel.

Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit, Absolem, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out.

I had the pleasure of attending a pre-screening of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” a few night ago and it was a delightful film. Funny, stunningly beautiful, heart-warming and stimulating are all words I would use to describe this fun movie. I particularly loved the wonderful morals and positive themes that run through the film. Messages about the merit of how time is spent, the value of relationships, the strength of women and the importance of family. And even though the film hit on some very thought provoking issues the story continued in the typical whimsical fashion you’d expect while traveling through Underland.

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Characters like Time and the Mad Hatter were sure to provide a laugh while simultaneously tugging at your heart strings. We get to look further into the relationship between the royal sisters, Mirana and Iracebeth. Alice is charming and thoughtful and strong and confident.

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One of the compelling thing about Alice and the Underland from Carroll’s books is how fantastical everything is. Everything is larger than life (or smaller), bright, exciting and deep. If you’re looking for a realistic interpretation of something as magical as Alice you might find yourself disappointed because Alice is meant to be otherworldly. The entire film is vibrant even in the darkest moments. It’s a visual feast for the eyes and the story carries the audience right along side Alice on her magical journey.

Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

Travel Through The Looking Glass

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What We’re Watching Now

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Joe and I don’t go out a lot. Babysitters and dates are expensive and our disposable income is somewhat lacking so we try to have date nights at home. Mostly we spend an hour or so after the boys are in bed relaxing on the couch watching some of our favorite shows.

Over the years we’ve watched some great series like Scrubs, Psych, Quantum Leap, Downton Abbey, Extras, Person of Interest, Veronica Mars, The Mentalist, Freaks and Geeks, White Collar, Royal Pains,Burn Notice, X-files, Sherlock, Orphan Black and a whole lot of others.

Currently our evening routine includes checking the DVR to see what shows we’ve caught like The Goldbergs, Agents of Shield, Fixer Upper, The Simpsons, or Agent Carter.

If we don’t find any new episodes on the DVR we switch over to Netflix and watch one of our current series like New Girl, House of Cards, or Chuck.

Last night we watched an episode of House of Cards. I can only handle about 1 episode at a time and usually I have to follow it up with a light hearted comedy. The same goes for whenever we watch Orphan Black. So we also watched The Goldbergs last night. We like to watch an entire series but take our time… no major binge watching here.

What are you watching?