Category Archives: movies

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.

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?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Movie Review by Joe

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the movie the fans have wanted since 1999.

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It might be too intense for small children but Jude will kill me if I don’t take him to see it.

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starwars5669d251bee12 The plot is pretty straight-forward, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens carries the most emotional weight of any Star Wars anything to come out in the last 30 years.

HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP!

starwars56266a4e8641e Did I mention I saw it before you? Not trying to be a jerk about it, but I did.  Well, ok, I am trying to be a little bit of a jerk about it.

HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP!

I swear on the attic full of unopened Star Wars toys that I amassed over my lifetime as a giant nerd that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is better than any of the prequels by a wide margin, and may even be better than Return of the Jedi.  But I will have to watch it 100 more times to be sure.

Also,

HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP! HOLY CRAP!

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions stated are Joe’s  because I am sick as a dog and Joe posted this without my knowledge or prior approval.

Sharing Mr. Rogers’ with my boys.

So by now you probably noticed that I write about Netflix a lot. I am a part of an awesome program called the Netflix Stream Team. I’m not really sure how I was selected to be on the Stream Team but it’s awesome. You see, I love Netflix and have had a Netflix account since about 2004 (long before the days of Netflix Streaming).

Confession, I think some of the movies in my queue have been there for about 10 years… maybe I’ll get around the watching them some day.

Being a part of the Stream Team has some perks but really I love that it gives me an excuse to write about my favorite shows and movies.

Currently, I’m ridiculously excited that they added Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood to streaming this month. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was my all-time favorite show when I was a kid. I used to change my shoes and put on my sweater at the beginning of every show, just like Fred Rogers. And like many of you, my favorite episode is the one where they tour the crayon factory. Obviously, this was the first episode I showed the boys last week.

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The boys were fascinated by the show. And what amazed me was how simple it is. Just Mr. Rogers talking to them through the television. No fancy music or bright lights. No fast paced chase sequences or dance number. Just a regular guy talking to kids in simple language the children can understand and he’s just talking about every stuff like crayons and furniture and friends.

After watching a few episodes the children remarked that they recognized the music and asking if it was the same as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which is the modern spin-off from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I said, yes and they tried to match up the characters from the Land of Make Believe. (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is also on Netflix Streaming)

I love that Netflix has so many great shows and movies that I can share with my family, especially ones that hold a sentimental place in my heart like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Our new Netflix Favorite: DinoTrux

Netflix has released a new original series, DinoTrux and my boys are obsessed.

DinoTrux are half dino and half truck. Ty Rux, a massive Tyrannosaurus Trux, and his best friend Revvit, a razor-sharp Reptool, are building a bigger and better world together — and battling against the biggest and baddest of them all, D-Structs, who seems determined to wreck everything that’s good about their world.

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The boys love the theme music and after just one episode they have their favorite characters. Noah loves Skya because there is a girl dinosaur just like in real life some are girls and some are boys.

We recently had a fun DinoTrux scavenger hunt where the boys looked for clues that eventually led them to some fun rock candy.

If you have little boys or girls that love dinosaurs and/or trucks they will love DinoTrux!

 

Summer Camp at Home with Netflix

Last week we had summer camp at home, Camp Lieb. I incorporated a lot of Netflix Streaming shows into our daily themes.

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Here’s a list of  our theme Netflix shows:

Friendship Day
Daniel Tiger: Friend Help Each Other
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

Space Day
Bill Nye the Science Guy: Planets
Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle
Little Einsteins: Ring Around the Planet
Magic School Bus: Gets Lost in Space

Nature Day
Bill Nye the Science Guy: Earth’s Crust
Wild Kratts
Magic School Bus: Goes to Seed

Ocean Day
Lego Atlantis
Bill Nye the Science Guy: Ocean Life
Magic School Bus: Goes the Mussel Beach

Ninja Day
Lego Ninjago
Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
Power Rangers Ninja Storm

I’m sure there are more shows and movies that are on Netflix Streaming that would fit into many of these categories but these are just a few of our favorites.

Inside Out – Movie Review

Recently, Joe and Jude went to an advanced screening of Disney Pixar’s new film, Inside Out.

INSIDE OUT REVIEW

Joe’s Review
Inside Out could quite possibly be the best movie that Pixar has ever done.  it’s funny and sad and heartwarming, and it doesn’t speak down to the children in the audience.  It is the most high-concept film that Pixar has done to date, but it contains just enough exposition to explain the concepts without getting bogged down or feeling forced.

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The constructs of the story, personified emotions, help children understand how to deal with emotions and deal with change in the larger context of growing up, which also serves to remind parents that children are growing up and don’t yet have a handle on how to best handle their emotions.

Among the things I liked best about Inside Out are Lewis Black’s portrayal of Anger, and Bing Bong, who has his own theme song and is one of the most unique characters I’ve seen anywhere.

About Inside Out
Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.

When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.

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Inside Out is now playing in theater across the nation.

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