Category Archives: movies

Disney Pixar’s Coco – Movie Review

Disney Pixar’s newest film, Coco is such a fun a creative story. Before previewing the film earlier this week I didn’t know too much about the story line other than it celebrated Mexican culture and family. It looked like a movie I would like and knowing the kind of films Pixar produces I had high expectations. I was not disappointed.

Coco tells the story of a young boy and his family. Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

This movie is fabulous. It was heart-felt, warm and funny as well as visually stimulating. I was a little concerned that a story line about death might be dark and scary but it was so heart-warming and cheery. In the same way Disney’s Up shared some of the heart ache of death Coco dives in a bit deeper.

I was absolutely blown away by the animation. Not only was there so much attention to detail, like the light, water, skin and hair but the expressions of the characters were so accurate. It’s hard to explain but there were a few moments when a character would make a movement or expression that was very representative of their culture. It wasn’t anything stereotypical but just little head tilts or the way they moved their mouth when talking that was so spot on. It wasn’t just animation of moving a mouth up and down like a puppet but the exact movements the entire body makes while speaking certain words, in a certain language with a certain accent. Fabulous.

Additionally, I love Gael García Bernal as the voice of Hector. I think he was probably my favorite character. His story line is so strong and fascinating. Most kids movies are pretty predictable but I was genuinely surprised with the twists of the story. It was such a compeling story I think children and adults will be both entertained. Also, be forewarned there may be some tear, because you can’t make a movie about death without sadness.

I will say that because the film is focused around the theme of family death parents might want to be prepared to answer some questions about death and afterlife. Otherwise, I don’t think it was dark or scary or had any moments that would be inappropriate for younger children. They mention murder, which might be a difficult topic but there wasn’t anything visually violent or scary. I actually, really liked how well they deal with such a heavy issue. I think this could be a great tool for parents that can use, in the same way Inside Out was a great film that dealt with emotions.

Coco is now playing in theaters across the county.

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

The Man Who Invented Christmas – Movie Review

I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This Christmas get a glimpse of what it might have been like for Charles Dicken to write the beloved Christmas story. The Man Who Invented Christmas tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, this beautiful film for the whole family shows how Charles Dickens mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Last week I went to a screening of The Man Who Invented Christmas and it was delightful. I always love Dan Stevens who played Charles Dickens, so I had high expectations. What I really liked about this movie was the story-telling. It wasn’t presented in a boring biographical way that just reenacts events that happened but it gives you insight as to what if may have been like inside Charles Dicken’s mind. I loved Christopher Plummer’s role as Ebenezer Scrooge, he was everything I think of when I imagine Scrooge. But I think my favorite part of the story was how events in Dicken’s own life helped form the characters in The Christmas Carol.

I think this is a great movie to watch with your family around the holidays. However, I don’t think that young children would be able to follow the story very well, especially if they aren’t familiar with The Christmas Carol. I think it is best for children around the age of 10 and up. I think Jude(9) would enjoy it but the rest of my boys would tune out about half way through just because they don’t have much context for the story yet. However, for everyone else it is a wonderful movie and I highly recommend going to see it this Christmas.

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

 

Thor: Ragnarok – Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok opened in theaters on November 3rd and it was a much anticipated movie for Joe and I.

Synopsis
Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive the deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

Joe’s thoughts
The first thing I read about Thor:Ragnarok was this tweet comparing it to the side of a cool dude’s van, and from that moment I was awash with anticipation. I can now confirm that the sweet-ass van guy’s initial impression was 100% accurate.

On top of being full of the sort of intergalactic ass-kicking that belongs on an epic heavy metal album cover, Thor:Ragnarok was also surprisingly hilarious. Instead of taking an overly serious approach, the film deals with the downfall of Thor and the destruction of the world with levity and frivolity. This approach makes an overtly fantastical story both accessible and believable, when it would otherwise be campy and cheesy.

The reemergence of the Hulk was something I’ve been looking forward to for years, and it was worth the wait. Watching the Hulk’s interactions with the other characters was very relatable for parents of small children.

Thor:Ragnarok is easily the best Thor-Hulk team-up movie, beating out the 1988 Bill Bixby classic The Incredible Hulk Returns by a large margin. It is also the best Thor movie, and it is definitely in the running for the best Marvel movie.

The direction by Taika Waititi was spot-on, and the casting was great. Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Idris Elba were especially fun to watch, and there were a ton of unexpected cameos. Immense attention was paid to tiny details and references that nerds like me will be pouring over for months.
All in all, Thor: Ragnarok was extraordinarily fun movie.

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

 

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.