Movie Review by Kristin: Disney’s Live Action ALADDIN

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Hello there, movie lovers!

In light of the newly released Live Action and Signature Collection versions of Disney’s ALADDIN on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray this week, I wanted to repost my review of the Live Action version! I was lucky enough to catch a screening of it here in Miami and, I have to say, it was much better than I expected!

Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve always loved Aladdin. The original movie was one of my favorites & I loooooooved the game on Sega. Collecting apples, leaping onto wooden stairs and hopping from stone to stone to avoid lava in the Cave of Wonders. This movie has all of that, which brings back a strong sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love that??

With that being said, let me get to the cast. There were some strong feelings going around when the cast was announced. Not necessarily from myself, but the only actor involved that I really knew of was Will Smith, who was cast as Genie. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) were unknown to me, but now I can’t wait to see what they do next! The three of them carried the film, along with some scene stealers by Abu, Aladdin’s infamous pet monkey. The chemistry between Massoud’s Aladdin and Scott’s Princess Jasmine was evident from the beginning. Some of the iconic scenes from the original were recreated here, further enhancing that nostalgia!

Personally, I loved the cast. The only one I thought could have been a bit stronger was the role of Jafar. The actor in this movie has a soft voice that doesn’t seem to carry much power when he’s on screen. This isn’t to take away from his work as an actor, I just don’t know that he was entirely right for this particular role. Jafar always had this menacing presence in the original, and I just didn’t necessarily feel that here.

I loooooved the singing and dancing! They changed things up some, allowing Smith to sort of modernize the role of Genie a bit. Some of his songs have more of a little rap vibe as opposed to regular singing & it worked! My only “complaint,” if you can call it that, was that in some of the dance numbers, it seemed like the timing was sped up a little. It looked like it was in fast mode when I think it would’ve been nicer to see it in real time.

One thing I want to mention again is the modernization in this one in comparison to the original. Aside from Genie’s contribution, we also see a stronger female presence when it comes to Princess Jasmine’s role. This version includes a new song, “Speechless,” that touches on how she’s supposed to be seen and not heard, but she refuses to remain speechless. It’s an important message, especially for little girls, that I’m glad they included & Naomi Scott performs the song beautifully.

Admittedly, I had another idea for who should have played Aladdin, and, as I mentioned before, I had no idea who Mena Massoud was. After watching this, my mind has been changed & I think Massoud played the role of Aladdin way better than I expected! He was charming and really seemed to embody the character we all know and love.

I definitely recommend checking this out when you can! It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it brings back a little piece of our childhood we didn’t know we needed!

 

ALADDIN | Official Channels

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | #Aladdin

 

 

 

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Movie Review by Kristin: FIVE FEET APART

Wowwwwwww. I finally got a chance to see FIVE FEET APART last night, and my only regret is that I didn’t see it sooner!

SYNOPSIS: Seventeen-year-old Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control — all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

Let me start by saying that the cast in FIVE FEET APART was amazing. The story focuses on Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), Will (Cole Sprouse) and Poe (Moises Arias), all of which have Cystic Fibrosis. Their performances throughout this movie were absolutely incredible. You have the besties who can’t console each other as other besties would. You have the lovebirds who can’t touch each other or be any closer than six (five) feet apart. It’s heartbreaking & their performances really convey those feelings to the viewer. Even the supporting cast was great!

It should come as no shock that Justin Baldoni put together such an amazing film. Have you seen his proposal video???? I’m linking that HERE because it’s epic in every sense of the word lol. FIVE FEET APART was beautifully shot and you can tell he sprinkled some of that Baldoni magic on it!

Admittedly, this story looked similar to other young adult movies that involve an illness, so I was expecting the same outcome. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the differences though! I laughed, I cried, I cried and I cried some more. This movie was beautiful and tragic at the same time, in the best way possible.

SPOILER ALERT: After it was over, my mother said, “I really liked this movie. I’m so glad neither of them died.” My response was that I’m not sure which would be worse, having someone die and not be able to touch them or to have someone right in front of you and not be able to touch them. Obviously, I’d rather not have someone die, but can you imagine the torture of being able to see that person you love standing right across from you and never being able to feel their touch? Bleh!

Cole Sprouse, Haley Lu Richardson and Moises Arias were phenomenal. You truly felt their pain, their guilt, their love and their friendship. It was an interesting look into Cystic Fibrosis that most people, including myself, were unaware of.

I highly recommend watching this movie with a box of tissues (or two) and then watch it again and again! ♥️

 

FIVE FEET APART | Official Channels

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | #FiveFeetApart

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: ALADDIN

aladdin_4c_payoff_one_sheet_27x40_cmykGood morning, movie lovers! Happy Hump Day!

Last night I was able to catch a screening of Disney’s live-action ALADDIN here in Miami and, I have to say, it was much better than I expected!

Leading up to this Friday’s release, I feel like the movie hasn’t had a lot of promotion. Everywhere I look there are promos for this Summer’s release of The Lion King, but barely anything for ALADDIN. I’m hoping that word of mouth will do the movie some good!

Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve always loved Aladdin. The original movie was one of my favorites & I loooooooved the game on Sega. Collecting apples, leaping onto wooden stairs and hopping from stone to stone to avoid lava in the Cave of Wonders. This movie has all of that, which brings back a strong sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love that??

With that being said, let me get to the cast. There were some strong feelings going around when the cast was announced. Not necessarily from myself, but the only actor involved that I really knew of was Will Smith, who was cast as Genie. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) were unknown to me, but now I can’t wait to see what they do next! The three of them carried the film, along with some scene stealers by Abu, Aladdin’s infamous pet monkey. The chemistry between Massoud’s Aladdin and Scott’s Princess Jasmine was evident from the beginning. Some of the iconic scenes from the original were recreated here, further enhancing that nostalgia!

Personally, I loved the cast. The only one I thought could have been a bit stronger was the role of Jafar. The actor in this movie has a soft voice that doesn’t seem to carry much power when he’s on screen. This isn’t to take away from his work as an actor, I just don’t know that he was entirely right for this particular role. Jafar always had this menacing presence in the original, and I just didn’t necessarily feel that here.

I loooooved the singing and dancing! They changed things up some, allowing Smith to sort of modernize the role of Genie a bit. Some of his songs have more of a little rap vibe as opposed to regular singing & it worked! My only “complaint,” if you can call it that, was that in some of the dance numbers, it seemed like the timing was sped up a little. It looked like it was in fast mode when I think it would’ve been nicer to see it in real time.

One thing I want to mention again is the modernization in this one in comparison to the original. Aside from Genie’s contribution, we also see a stronger female presence when it comes to Princess Jasmine’s role. This version includes a new song, “Speechless,” that touches on how she’s supposed to be seen and not heard, but she refuses to remain speechless. It’s an important message, especially for little girls, that I’m glad they included & Naomi Scott performs the song beautifully.

Admittedly, I had another idea for who should have played Aladdin, and, as I mentioned before, I had no idea who Mena Massoud was. After watching this, my mind has been changed & I think Massoud played the role of Aladdin way better than I expected! He was charming and really seemed to embody the character we all know and love.

I definitely recommend checking this out when you can! It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it brings back a little piece of our childhood we didn’t know we needed!

 

ALADDIN | Official Channels

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | #Aladdin

 

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: THE LAST SUMMER

Happy Hump Day, movie lovers!

I was able to check out Netflix’s newest rom-com, THE LAST SUMMER this week and, I have to say, I enjoyed it!

SYNOPSIS: Teens from a Chicago high school grapple with their dreams, relationships and identities in a transformative summer before they leave for college. 

Let’s start off with the cast. This cast was a mix of well-known actors (KJ Apa as Griffin, Maia Mitchell as Phoebe and Tyler Posey as Ricky) and relatively unknowns. Some of the characters were a bit over the top, and I’m not sure if that was due to a lack of experience or if that’s just how the characters were made to be. Either way, the majority of the cast fit really well together in their own little storylines. They’re never all together in one scene, which contributes to making this movie a bit more relatable for some people. In high school, you’re not always in this huge group of people that always gets along. Sometimes you’re alone or with one friend or with that person you have heart eyes for.

Each set of storylines were interesting to watch play out. Whether you’re recently graduating from high school or you graduated long ago, we all remember that crossroads moment when you realize everything is about to change. The characters in THE LAST SUMMER are all facing that familiar crossroad, so it brings back a sense of nostalgia for the viewer. Relationship troubles, applying to colleges, not getting into the college you had your eyes set on, figuring out where you’re headed and what mistakes you’ve made along the way . . . all of that plays out in this movie.

There’s not much action and it may not be my favorite movie ever, but it’s definitely worth a watch. The cast is great, the setting makes you want to pack your bags and head to Chicago, and it’s just a feel good movie that brings you back to that special time when you truly discover that life is at your fingertips.

Check it out for yourself, now on Netflix, and let me know what you thought!

Movie Review by Kristin: LONG SHOT

Ahhhhh!!!

A Charlize Theron & Seth Rogen team up is everything I never knew I needed! You’ll understand once you see LONG SHOT for yourself!

SYNOPSIS: Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for…well, mostly everything. Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a gifted and free spirited journalist with a self-destructive streak. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his baby sitter and first crush. When Fred unexpectedly reunites with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous and high stakes lifestyle. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance that becomes embroiled in a series of dangerous and outlandish incidents.

What did I think of the movie, you ask?

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about it going into the screening, but I walked out wanting to see it again. It has the perfect blend of comedy, politics, sarcasm, romance & more comedy sprinkled over everything else you can think of that makes a movie great. The whole thing actually really surprised me!

Even my brother enjoyed it & he hates when comedies have any kind of romance in them lol. He thinks it waters down the funny. But not this time!

Charlize Theron is incredible as she tackles the role of an extremely powerful woman (which . . . GIRL POWER, am I right?) & a comedic genius, I dare say! Her on-screen chemistry with Seth Rogen is great & they really make quite the dynamic duo. O’Shea Jackson, Jr. also stands out as the comedic bestie of Seth Rogen’s character. Can I just say that we need O’Shea in more roles like this??

If cursing, drugs & sex aren’t your thing, you might want to skip this movie, but you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice. Yes, those things (mostly the cursing) are consistent throughout, but they all fit so perfectly. Give it a chance, like I did, and you can thank me once you’ve seen it this Friday, May 3rd!

Movie Review by Kristin: Netflix’s THE DIRT

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What’s up, movie lovers?

It’s been a while since my brothers and I made plans to catch a movie together, but the release of Motley Crue & Netflix’s THE DIRT seemed like an appropriate time to change that! Let me give you just a little bit of backstory before I get into my review of the movie.

My brothers and I are all 4 years apart and I’m the youngest of three. My oldest brother has been the biggest Motley Crue fan since his teenage years, but we weren’t far behind. In 2008 I’d been laid off from my job, I had just found out that my best friend slept with the guy I was with & I was just an overall hot mess. My brother had never seen Motley live before, but he gave me his ticket to Crue Fest without a second thought. It was only natural that I repay his generosity by buying the three of us tickets to see them live TWICE after that, including seeing their Farewell Tour with our niece. The three of us had also read the book years ago, so we pretty much knew what to expect from the movie. (Side note: I’ve always had a little crush on Nikki, so there you have it.)

Crue[1]

With that being said, the three of us made plans for a family movie night to catch THE DIRT on Netflix and we were all super stoked about it! Especially considering the fact that Motley served as producers and we all know that if something was fabricated or came across badly, Nikki would make those changes prior to the release lol.

Here’s the official synopsis of the movie:

In this unflinching biopic based on Motley Crue’s best-selling book, four LA misfits navigate the monster highs and savage lows of music superstardom.

First, I want to talk about the casting for the movie. Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly) as Tommy Lee was absolutely PERFECT. It actually felt like we were watching Tommy act out his past. Everything from their build to their mannerisms were spot-on, so kudos to Colson for his performance.

The other guys (Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx, Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars and Daniel Webber as Vince Neil) were great as well. Admittedly, I had a little bit of a harder time believing Daniel Webber to be Vince, but he definitely had Vince’s on-stage mannerisms down. That might be partly because I’ve seen interviews with the others guys talking about their preparation and everything, but Daniel Webber hasn’t really done any press. My opinion of him in this movie has nothing to do with his acting skills though because he was great in The Punisher! It’s just difficult to portray someone so well known. Either way, you can tell that the guys all did their research on the OG’s to get this right.

I had looked up critic reviews before watching the movie myself and what I saw was awful. After watching it though, I have to disagree with their reviews. There were some things about the movie that I wasn’t particularly a fan of, but it wasn’t the debauchery that the band caused and lived through. That’s part of their story and all of what makes them Motley Crue. What I wasn’t a fan of were some of the transitions throughout the movie. I know it’s hard to take a 431-page book and almost 40 years together and make it into a 2 hour movie. But, at one point, they went from playing little club shows to playing arenas with no in between on how they got there. There was also the part where it seemed like a snarky comment from Nikki resulted in their owning their own music, but I’m sure it was much more detailed than that. It was little transitional things like that that seemed off to me. I guess it boils down to just wanting to see more. Maybe it could’ve been like a two-part movie, or like a mini-series or something.

That doesn’t take away from the quality of the movie though. THE DIRT transports you back to the 80s and definitely had great production value. What critics failed to take away from the movie is that this movie  is about a band that was determined to play music their way and overcame some horrible situations over the course of their years together. Their story of success and debauchery is horrific and legendary at the same time, but these are 4 guys who went through the craziest of times and lived to tell the tale. Fans have loved seeing important moments from the band’s lives being played out on-screen, so that’s what matters most. The bottom line is that critics have always criticized Motley, but look at them now! They own their music, they have a book, a film adaptation of that book, and their music is back at the top of the charts. Seems like they’re doing alright for themselves! Plus, they still have loyal fans that are loving every second of their success.

If you’re a fan of the band, the guys as individuals, the 80s or just music and movies in general, I would recommend checking this out when you can. It’s gritty, it has moments that make you laugh and it makes you proud, as a fan, to watch the craziness that tried to take Motley away but failed! Lucky for us!

 

Movie Review by Kristin: Netflix’s BRAIN ON FIRE

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Holy shish kabobs!

I saw the trailer for BRAIN ON FIRE on Netflix a while ago, and I finally had a chance to sit down and watch it this week.

For the most part it was pretty slow-moving, but seeing as this movie was based on the real life story of Susannah Cahalan, it was also pretty terrifying.

SYNOPSIS: Susannah Cahalan is a promising writer at the New York Post. She’s young, she’s happy and she’s living her best life in NYC. When she begins exhibiting unexplained erratic & violent behavior, her parents & doctors race the clock to correctly diagnose her condition and to bring Susannah back.

The first half of the movie, as I mentioned, was pretty slow-moving. This is no action movie, but it’s the telling of the real Susannah Cahalan’s experience with a rare condition called anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. So, the slowness is just us watching a normal day in Susannah’s life before experiencing any symptoms. Once she begins experiencing symptoms, it’s a downhill battle because no one knows exactly what’s causing her behavior and none of her doctors know what her diagnosis is just yet.

It was interesting to watch the movie and watch this person go through something as terrifying as basically being trapped inside of your own body, and then to read the facts about how many people go through this unknowingly.

If you want to watch the movie for yourself, you can catch it on Netflix now, and you can also read the memoir by the real Susannah Cahalan, also titled Brain on Fire.