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

 

 

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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 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.

 

Movie Review by Kristin: BIRD BOX

BirdBox_Verical-Main_PRE_USHo. Ly. Shitballs.

I’ve been waiting months for BIRD BOX to finally be released on Netflix, so I was excited to curl up on the couch to check it out last night after doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. Because nothing says holiday spirit like a supernatural apocalyptic movie that has you on the edge of your seat for about 2 hours, amiright? My excitement to see this was heightened after seeing some of the feedback on Twitter about it. I definitely went into it with high expectations and it delivered!

No lie, I felt like I needed a Xanax to calm my anxiety throughout most of the movie — ok, all of the movie. My body was tense the whole time and I just couldn’t stop watching. Unfortunately, it’s easy to compare BIRD BOX to A Quiet Place because they both have similar concepts, but this one took the cake for me.

SYNOPSIS: When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain — if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they’ll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them — and complete the trip blindfolded.

BIRD BOX gave me a little bit of what A Quiet Place didn’t. I can’t really pin point exactly what that was, but once the movie was done I didn’t feel like something had been missing. The cast was incredible, the plot was interesting and Sandra Bullock’s performance throughout the movie was probably one of her best performances. (Side note: Why the heck is Trevante Rhodes not being mentioned anywhere? Between BIRD BOX and Moonlight, he deserves a bit more recognition.) One thing that I appreciated in this movie was that viewers never get to see whatever it is that causes the mass suicides once it’s seen. The fear of the unknown is brutal, so I liked that we never really had a physical image to go along with whatever supernatural being was causing this mass terror.

It’s definitely worth the watch.  Douglas (John Malkovich) will make you want to punch your TV screen, Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) will make you want to scream in her face, Felix (Machine Gun Kelly) will make you wonder why his character was even there in the first place if he wasn’t going to be given any significant importance (not that I don’t like MGK), and Mallory (Sandra Bullock) and Tom (Trevante Rhodes) will make you want to be their besties during any apocalyptic situation.

Give it a chance and, as always, let me know your thoughts!

Movie Review by Kristin: NO SLEEP ‘TIL CHRISTMAS

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Hello there!

So, last week I decided to record a Christmas movie on my DVR called NO SLEEP ‘TIL CHRISTMAS. The movie aired on Freeform and stars Charles Michael Davis, Odette Annable and Dave Annable. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to actually watch it until last night because . . . the holidays, amiright?

SYNOPSIS: A bartender and a businesswoman find they only have one thing in common; insomnia. 

I actually really liked this one. It had the perfect amount of comedy along with the usual level of predictability, but it all blended really well together. I admit, watching the two main characters deal with insomnia gave me a bit of anxiety haha. The only thing I was a little confused about was that this isn’t really a Christmas movie. It’s almost like ‘Christmas’ was just slapped into the title to reign in all the Christmas movie hunters lol.

Despite that, I thought it was still a great movie. Real life husband and wife, Dave & Odette Annable obviously have incredible on-screen chemistry and they engage in pretty comedic witty banter throughout the entire movie. I’d definitely recommend checking it out, just don’t go into it thinking that it’s a full-blown Christmas movie because it’s not. If you’re looking for a funny little rom-com with a gorgeous cast and a touch of holiday spirit, then this is worth the watch!

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES | Starring Kurt Russell

IMG_5238Good morning, everyone!

I’m hoping that everyone is feeling the Christmas spirit – what with Christmas only being less than a week away and all. I’ve just been cookie-baking and Christmas shopping and feeling the onset of my anxiety when I think about what I’ve spent and what I’ll eventually have to pay back lol. I did find some time to sit down and watch THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES on Netflix this weekend and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!

SYNOPSIS: The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. 

Kurt Russell is THE perfect Santa Claus. He’s the coolest version I’ve ever seen in a movie, that’s for sure. What other Santa have YOU seen that wears a red leather coat? I’d also seen that the people who handled the special effects in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Home Alone also handled the special effects in this one, so I went into it with pretty high expectations. With that being said, I thought they did a fantastic job. I remember thinking to myself that this is the perfect Christmas movie for kids to see because not only was Santa relatable and very human-like, but it was everything that I think a child might try to envision. For example, how does Santa carry around gifts for so many children in one little bag on his sleigh? This movie brings that idea to life and allows children to see what the inside of that bag might look like.

While I, myself, became salty that a fictional character was taking all of the credit for my hard work in buying gifts for my niece when she was younger, I still found myself enjoying this movie very much. It had the corniness that all Christmas movies have, but it also had adventure and a coolness about it. It brings imagination to life in a new way. I’ve seen a few people say that this movie is safe for children 10+ to watch, but I also have friends who have watched this with their younger children & they loved it. It’s an edgy twist on the idea of Santa and I highly recommend checking it out! If you’re not 100% sure if you should watch it with your young ones, perhaps you should watch it yourself first. Either way, curl up on the couch with some popcorn and hot cocoa and enjoy the swag that Kurt Russell brings to the character!

Movie Review by Kristin: A STAR IS BORN | Starring Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

IMG_2249Happy Saturday, movie lovers!

I just got back from an early morning showing of A STAR IS BORN and I am absolutely blown away. It was even better than I expected and seeing it in Dolby (thanks, AMC) made it even more incredible.

In case you were unaware of the plot:

SYNOPSIS: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Let me start by saying that I listened to the soundtrack for A STAR IS BORN yesterday while I was at work and was pleasantly surprised by the vocals on Bradley Cooper! The music itself was fantastic, but his vocals really proved how versatile and talented he truly is. The tracks with him and Lady Gaga made me want a full album of just them singing with each other. It was really that good! With that being said, here is my warning for those of you that decide to listen to the soundtrack before watching the movie:

YOU WILL KNOW THE ENDING.

IMG_2250Between each track is a dialogue track pulled straight from the movie. As I was listening to each track, I could almost feel the tone of their relationship changing. Once it got to the last three tracks, I called my co-worker and asked if the soundtrack just ruined the ending of the movie for me lol. Update: It did. However, with that being said, nothing could prepare you for the incredible performances given by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in this movie.

Consider the fact that this was her first (major) acting role and this was his first time actually singing and “becoming” a musician. They were both kind of walking in the other’s shoes and did so perfectly. I’m convinced that Bradley Cooper, not only as an actor/performer, but as a filmmaker is an absolute genius. This was his directorial debut and he nailed it, in my opinion. The shots were beautiful & there were moments where there was no dialogue, but you knew exactly what they were saying just by looking at each other. The trust between him and Lady Gaga as actors was evident throughout the whole thing. You felt what the characters were feeling. You were invested in their relationship and you rooted for them to succeed. Even the performances by the supporting cast was great. Ally’s friend Ramon (Anthony Ramos) didn’t get much air time, but played a pivotal role in her life and the relationship with Jack. Bobby (Sam Elliott) was great as Jack’s brother and really played a part in breaking my heart throughout the movie.

I love movies and I love music, so any time that they can be combined into one incredible piece of art — I’m there for it. There was no exception here and I am highly recommending it to anyone reading this review. It’s gritty, it’s important, it’s beautiful, it’s tragic. Bradley Cooper allowed the movie to breathe without us feeling like they were shoving dialogue and a fake story down our throats. It felt real and I might need convincing that there isn’t an actual Jack Maine & Ally out there on tour together right now lol. Side Note: Can Sam Elliott lend his voice to a meditating app or something? Let’s make that happen, people!

The only “complaint” I can muster is that there are a few scenes in the trailer (see below) that don’t appear in the movie and I wish they had, but here’s to hoping for an extended version once it’s released on Blu-ray.

So go out and see it now that it’s in theaters! Let me know your thoughts when you do. Do you think this will be Oscar-nominated? I actually think it could be and it honestly couldn’t be more deserving. Great job by all!

In theaters now!

A STAR IS BORN | Official Channels

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Movie Review by Kristin: THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY

IMG_1667Good morning, everyone!

I was browsing the available content on Netflix this weekend and stumbled upon this cute little movie, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.

SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

I’ve been so impressed with the quality content Netflix has included in their library lately. I’m a sucker for movies and a sucker for books, so this one was a no-brainer for me. The cast was great and the storyline was interesting. The story is set in the 1940’s and follows the characters retelling their experiences of Nazi Occupied Guernsey to London author, Juliet Ashton. While she intends to write an article about the society and their experiences, she finds and values their friendship even more. She begins to reevaluate what she wants for her own life and helps the group find some sort of peace once they open up about the loss of a friend.

The scenery in the film was absolutely lovely and we get a glimpse of England (for those of us who have never had the pleasure of visiting). The performances were great in this. Surprisingly, Kate Winslet was slated to portray Juliet Ashton, but she dropped out of the project before filming began. Honestly, as much as I love Kate Winslet as an actress and human being, I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role other than Lily James. She really embraced the role and gave such an endearing performance.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY does run a bit long — it sits at 124 minutes. It does include some drama, some comedy, a few flashbacks and the recipe for an old-fashioned romance, so it’s not difficult to hold your interest (in my opinion).

This is truly a beautiful story of love, friendship and the sadness of friends lost.

Movie Review by Kristin: IRREPLACEABLE YOU

IMG_1668Holy crap.

I admit that I can be a bit emotional at times during shows like This Is Us and movies like Love, Simon. None, however, have made me ugly cry quite like this one.

SYNOPSIS: Recently engaged couple Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman) find their dreams for the future shattered when she receives a terminal-cancer diagnosis. Abbie copes with the news by attending a support group, and by trying to plan the details of Sam’s life after she’s gone — which includes finding him a new partner.

IRREPLACEABLE YOU is a bit predictable in the sense that the main characters, Abbie and Sam, discover her diagnosis so early in the film, but the way it’s handled is heartbreaking and lovely all at the same time. I also feel like it was a bit sugar-coated because we never saw Abbie get extremely sick the way that we know cancer can play out — but I’m kind of thankful for that. We know what’s happening, we don’t necessarily have to witness every detail. In that respect, I also think it’s very telling that you’re able to be so emotionally invested in this couple despite not seeing the very worst of this horrible disease. It says a lot about the actors in each scene.

The performances by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman were very sweet and raw. You really felt the love they had for each other, which made the outcome even more beautiful and heartbreaking. With that being said, even though the ending is predictable, watching it play out in such a way had me hooked. It was also fun to see Christopher Walken play a friend to Abbie throughout the film and, ultimately, being the person who made her look at her life differently.

My only complaint is that we didn’t get enough scenes with Kate McKinnon in them! Aside from that, this was a great little movie. One of the moments that really got me was when Abbie tells Sam that she thought planning his future would hurt less than her accepting that she won’t be around to see it. UGHHHHHHH. If you like the odd concoction of sad, romantic and funny movies, I definitely recommend this one.

Side note: I absolutely loved Sam’s dimples in the movie, and I was absolutely SHOOK to discover that he played Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones! Yes, the one that hooked up with Khaleesi and got dumped! Funny what a pair of glasses and a shave could do!

Movie Review by Kristin: TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

IMG_1526Happy Monday, everyone!

This weekend I had a moment to sit down and watch the highly anticipated TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE on Netflix, and I am SO glad I did.

SYNOPSIS: Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.

What an adorable teen romantic comedy! I have to hand it to Netflix because they have not let me down with their Originals lately. I will admit that I had not read the book by Jenny Han prior to watching the film, so I had nothing to compare it to, but wow!

The cast was fantastic, the story was so cute and relatable, and it really tugged at your feelings while watching it. You felt for Lara Jean when her letters got out — the anxiety of someone knowing your personal feelings when you weren’t expecting them to and feeling like you don’t know how to stop what’s happening. I saw so much of myself in Lara Jean even though I’m in my 30’s, so I think it’s really a film that anyone can enjoy.

So many of us have had that experience where we’re not quite sure how to express our feelings towards someone we’re afraid of being rejected by. You’ve had that box hidden in the back of your closet with unsent letters containing your most private feelings at some point in your life. I know I have, and if those had ever been sent out, you’d probably find me in a cave somewhere hibernating until it blew over. No lie! That’s probably what made Condor’s portrayal of Lara Jean so likable is that even though she was mortified, she took control of the situation and didn’t back down.

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I know that with book-to-film adaptations, readers already have a preconceived idea of what the characters would look like and are often disappointed with the outcome. However, in this case, the majority of the readers (& viewers) seem to think Lana Condor was the perfect Lara Jean and Noah Centineo was the perfect Peter Kavinsky. So kudos to the casting crew in addition to the phenomenal performances from the cast!

This is definitely a modern day John Hughes film if I ever saw one. I honestly can’t come up with any complaints. In order to provide a little insight from a younger perspective, my niece, who is 14, also saw it with her friends and absolutely loved it.

If you’re into rom-coms, I highly recommend checking this out on Netflix when you can. If (and when) you do, let me know what you thought! I’ll just be in my little corner reading the book now.

Movie Review by Kristin: THE SONG

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Hey there, movie lovers!

On my lunch break at work the other day, I decided to check out this movie on Hulu. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it starred Alan Powell, who I really enjoyed on this last season of Quantico. You might also recognize him as one of the former members of Christian band, Anthem Lights.

I quickly realized that this was a Christian-themed movie, which actually tied in really well with the storyline. I’m not a religious person, but I think the balance played well for viewers who are and for viewers–like me–who aren’t. With that being said, I can’t offer my opinion on how well it actually ties in with the story of King Solomon, so my opinion is solely based on the movie itself.

SYNOPSIS: An aspiring singer-songwriter’s life and marriage suffer when the song he writes for his wife propels him to stardom.

There is a heavy voice-over reciting the story of King Solomon (I only know this because I googled it lol) that I felt sort of overpowered certain scenes. Jed (Alan Powell) provides the voice-over and while his voice is great for voice-overs, I just was not grasping it in its entirety. I was more focused on what was happening in the scene.

The storyline is one that we’ve seen fairly often. An up-and-coming musician finds his muse, hits it big, gets wrapped up in the fame, ruins certain aspects of his life and then seeks redemption. However, Alan Powell does such a great job at playing the love-sick husband and the douchebag musician that his performance almost gives the story a fresh spin. The other performances were surprisingly good as well.

It wasn’t my favorite film I’ve ever seen, but it was definitely worth the hour and 56 minutes of watching it. I’m a sucker for films that include a live performance aspect, so I might be biased in saying that I did really enjoy this one.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Movie Review by Kristin: BRAVEN

I finally logged into my PrimeVideo app and saw that BRAVEN was featured. I’ve been wanting to check it out and now was my chance! Naturally, I couldn’t turn away because Jason Momoa. Am I right?

SYNOPSIS: A logger and his father head to their hunting cabin, hoping for a quiet weekend. Instead, they find themselves in a kill-or-be-killed stand for survival when they encounter a gang of ruthless drug traffickers.

This was a great movie. Jason Momoa is a beast as Joe Braven. It sucks that he’s sort of type casted into these tough guy roles, but the tough guy role was coupled with the family man role in this one & he balanced them perfectly.

Throughout the film, you feel this sense of urgency for the protagonists. Joe is trying to protect his daughter and his father, who is suffering from dementia. He’s trying to do the right thing for one person & it may not be the right thing for the other. It had me tense the whole time.

I would recommend checking this out. There were beautiful images shown during the opening credits that made me google where Braven was filmed lol. Google’s answer was Newfoundland, Canada (thanks, Google). The storyline was interesting and I think it was executed very well.

Check it out & let me know what you thought!

Review: BELIEVER – A Documentary From Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons) on HBO

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I had the chance to sit down and watch BELIEVER on HBO this weekend and it was so good!

SYNOPSIS: Believer follows Mormon Dan Reynolds, frontman for the Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons, as he takes on a new mission to explore how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.

Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons) grew up in the Mormon faith alongside his family and friends in Utah. The Mormon doctrine believes that homosexuality is a sin, and they’ve even been known to remove allies from their church. There have been some amendments to their policies over the years, but the astounding number of suicides among teenagers in the Mormon community is still rising.

This prompted Dan to team up with Tyler Glenn (Neon Trees lead singer & fellow Mormon) to look for ways to bring awareness to these situations within the Mormon community. They formed the LoveLoud Festival and this documentary follows their journey in getting the festival organized. One of my favorite parts in the documentary is when Dan’s wife, Aja, is explaining to their young daughter what it means to be gay/transgender. I explained it to my niece the exact same way when she was around the same age and I don’t regret it one bit. Because I did that when she was young, my niece has always been inclusive towards all human beings. Seeing a similar experience documented with their adorable daughter was very special.

It’s an interesting documentary, to say the least. With the help of Tyler, Aja, and several people who are a part of the Mormon community, they shed light on the things that need to change, and continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

I recommend watching it, without a doubt. As an ally to the LGBTQ community myself, I think it’s important to see how shunning a person due to their sexual orientation/preference can cause so much harm to that individual and their family. If we want to keep our brothers and sisters safe, we need to be inclusive and supportive. This documentary does a fantastic job of that.

 

I’ll leave you with this incredible tweet from Dan Reynolds via Twitter:

Movie Review by Kristin: SET IT UP

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Hey there, movie lovers!

I stayed up late last night to watch a romantic comedy that was recommended to me by Netflix and I have to say . . . I don’t regret it one bit. It’s honestly the rom-com we didn’t know we needed!

The film was directed by Claire Scanlon and stars Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu.

SYNOPSIS: Two young assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses to date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might be right for each other.

I’ve gotten to a point where I kind of go into these movies with the expectation that I’m probably going to be let down by something in the end, so I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t a weak link in the film at all. Between the hilarious banter between Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), the out-of-control behavior by Rick (Taye Diggs) and Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and the likable sidekick friends of Harper and Charlie . . . there was a perfect balance of funny and friendship and romance. Not to mention it made me want to pack my bags and move to NYC immediately.

I highly recommend checking this out when you have almost 2 hours of free time to spare. It’s an extremely likable film with a great cast that really blends the romance and comedy genre perfectly.

The film premiered on Netflix on June 15, 2018.

Movie Review by @mikethemovieguy – LOVE & BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY | #loveandbananas

Elephant rescues in Thailand are rare, unpredictable and often life threatening. After waiting over 2 years, actor/director Ashley Bell and a team of elephant rescuers led by world renowned Asian elephant conservationist and TIME Magazine’s Hero of Asia, Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, embark on a daring mission to rescue Noi Na, a 70-year old partially blind trekking elephant and bring her 500 miles across Thailand to freedom.

African elephants are slaughtered for their ivory, but sadly the plight of the Asian Elephant has been completely overlooked even though they are the elephant we are most familiar with in zoos, circuses and elephant rides. Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story exposes the cruel secret that every Asian elephant has had to endure to become a service animal; a process known as Pajan, aka The Crush Box. Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story aims to ignite a new way of thinking about this species and shows what can be done to prevent the extinction of Asian elephants.

 

Man! I had the chance to watch this last night. It has to be one of the best documentary’s I’ve seen in a long time. LOVE & BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY definitely took me on a roller coaster of emotions.

Sadness. Anxiety. Happiness.

Everyone involved in this mission is awesome!! Lek is a BEAST!!! This little lady here…AMAZING. Shoutouts to Ashley Bell and her team for bringing this to the screen.

LOVE & BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY is a MUST WATCH film! After watching it – I immediately followed all their social media to help spread the word on what’s happening to Asian Elephants. I might not have a zillion dollars but anything helps, right?

People!! Watch this film where and when you can. LOVE & BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY is screening in select cities now & there are more to come. Check out the links below for more info.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #loveandbananas
Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story

Mike “The Movie Guy” Pierce
Daddy Blogger
iwatchmike.com

Movie Review by Kristin: GIFTED | #GiftedMovie

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Hello, movie lovers!!

I’ve been wanting to see GIFTED for so long, and I finally got to watch it last night! I absolutely loved it! The cast was phenomenal and Mckenna Grace is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

SYNOPSIS: Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the 7-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary.

To be quite honest, this didn’t even feel like a movie. This felt like I was a spirit observing a beautiful relationship between an uncle and his niece. The acting didn’t feel forced at all and Mckenna’s performance didn’t just tug at my heart strings . . . she obliterated them. The on-screen chemistry between her and Chris Evans was so incredibly heartwarming. Even her relationship with their neighbor, Roberta (Octavia Spencer), was  a thing of beauty.

This film touched me on a personal level because of the relationship I have with my own niece. Sometimes you put your own life on hold to help raise someone else and I felt Frank’s struggle entirely in that respect. You want to do right by them and make sure they have the best life possible, but everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you bounce back from those mistakes that makes all the difference.

What Mckenna does as Mary is what blows you away as a viewer. She is a math prodigy who struggles to balance being a genius and being a kid. Frank, Roberta and the one-eyed cat Fred, help to keep Mary on a track that finds that balance successfully.

I caught the film on HBO, but this is one that I would definitely recommend actually buying. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s beautiful, it’s tragic and it’s absolutely underestimated. It’s a wonderful indie film that I highly recommend!

 

Movie Review by Kristin: LOVE, SIMON | #LoveSimon

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Hey there, movie lovers!

I had the chance to catch a special screening of LOVE, SIMON last night with the niece and we absolutely loved it! We’d been looking forward to this movie since the trailer was first released and it definitely did not disappoint.

SYNOPSIS: Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

To start off, the cast in LOVE, SIMON was absolutely phenomenal. It was diverse, it was incredibly talented and every single person made you feel connected to their character in some way. You’re able to place yourself in each character’s shoes to try and imagine what they might have been feeling in that moment and how you would react, in your own life, to certain situations that presented themselves throughout the movie.

Nick Robinson (Everything, Everything) shines as Simon Spier. You can actually feel his anxiety about coming out to his friends and family and being so desperate to do it on his own terms. For those in the LGBTQ community, their coming out story is such a powerful moment in their life and having that moment forced upon them the way it was forced upon Simon in the movie was heartbreaking. As someone who is straight, but very much connected to members of the LGBTQ community, these moments in LOVE, SIMON actually made me cry a bit. Yes, I admit it. My niece and I were wiping away tears that never stopped flowing. It was sad, it was uplifting, it was triumphant, it was lovely and it was inspiring all rolled into one hour and 50 minutes.

I would love to read the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli to see if we get a bit more of a backstory for Simon. When the movie begins, we’re thrust into his present day struggle with being gay and no one having a clue. We get a quick little glimpse of when he sort of realized when he was gay, but I would’ve liked to see that explained just a little more. Its absence doesn’t take away from the film at all though.

Both my niece and I highly recommend seeing LOVE, SIMON. It’s such an important message for those struggling with their own sexuality, for parents who are oblivious to how their children might be feeling, for friends to learn how to be accepting and supportive towards each other, for classmates to see how bullying and social media could really affect a person’s life. It touches on so many important topics for young adults. Some of the characters are flawed in their own way–some more than others–and that really contributes to the realistic feel to the entire movie.

It will make you laugh, cry and cheer for these characters and it will most definitely make you LOVE SIMON!

You can catch LOVE, SIMON in theaters March 16, 2018!

LOVE, SIMON Official Channels:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #LoveSimon

 

Movie Review by Kristin: WONDER | #ChooseKind

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What’s up, movie lovers?

I finally got to watch WONDER and I have to say . . . I loved it! It’s perfect for the family, and it’s perfect to watch on your own. Doesn’t really matter how you watch it as long as you watch it!

SYNOPSIS: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

The cast in WONDER was absolutely fantastic. Isabel (Julia Roberts), Nate (Owen Wilson) and Via (Izabela Vidovic) are a great support system to little Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) and their individual performances are amazing as well. Of course, the one who stands out the most is Auggie.

Jacob Tremblay had to undergo lots of prosthetic work to portray the character, who was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, and he does such a great job throughout the entire film. For such a young actor, he really embodied this role in every aspect.

Aside from Auggie, one of my favorite characters in WONDER was Jack Will (Noah Jupe). Jack’s character was apprehensive about Auggie at first, but once he got to know him, he realized how much he actually liked him. It think the dynamic between Jack Will and Auggie is one of the main “lessons” taught here. He was apprehensive, became friends with Auggie, went along with what the bullies were saying when Auggie wasn’t around, and then he was hurt when Auggie stopped speaking to him. It was a realistic portrayal of how kids behave at that age. Once Jack was able to see how good of a person Auggie was as opposed to the other kids, he was able to fully embrace his friend and make others do the same.

The entire movie was funny, adorable, heartwarming and realistic. Definitely a great movie to watch with your kids and a real conversation starter about how to treat others. My favorite quote from the movie comes from Auggie’s sister, Via:

“If they stare, let them stare. You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”